Unjust suffering–Are we prepared to do it with Christ?

Today’s devotion say that we must be prepared to suffer unjustly.  Doing it humbly and respectfully towards those that accuse, blame, or deliberately hurt us.  This I know for me has not been an easy thing to do as I have been verbally abused most of my life and have taken it internally.  Phil Ware says in his devotion today “A year with Jesus” that we will be accused, verbally abused and disrespected.  That we need to do what Christ did and take it, showing others that if we have done no wrong than it will come out in the end.  I know waiting is a hard thing to do, but being justified in the end is so much better and fulfilling than lashing back in defense at someone for saying and being mean to us.  Read today’s devotion and let it sink deep into your heart as it has done for me

A Year with Jesus:

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

Life sometimes is not fair. If you have any doubts about that, just remember what you celebrate when you take part in Communion: My body was pierced and abused and My blood was shed because I was condemned based on the lies, jealousy, and politics of evil men. I was sinless, yet crucified as a heinous criminal. So if you face unjust suffering — persecution, harassment, and abuse — because you wear My name, understand that I also faced unfair and unjust treatment.

If you suffer for doing what is wrong, you are only getting what you deserve. However, if you suffer unjustly and unfairly, people usually eventually notice. People of faith are empowered and emboldened. Unbelievers recognize your holy behavior. Except for the most hardened hearts under hell’s influence, your godly behavior in the face of injustice and unfairness appeals to hearts of those looking for truth. Don’t be discouraged. Your suffering will not be wasted or forgotten by the Father.

In the face of ridicule, harassment, and abuse, your righteous character and gracious compassion will win the hearts of those who witness your life. Some will even want to know what your reason for having hope in Me might be. So be ready to give an answer or offer your defense for your faith in Me. But remember, do this“humbly and respectfully” in a way consistent with your way of life as My disciple. Remember not only that your goal is to win your case or your freedom or your rights, but that your goal is also to win the hearts of the unbelievers before whom you give witness.

Verses to Live

These verses selected from 1 Peter chapters 2 and 3 in your Bibles are connected by the theme of righteous and compassionate behavior while facing unjust suffering. The principles Peter shares here show his maturity and mellowing. Peter has been transformed from the arrogant and impetuous apostle who seemed to always overstate everything into the loving shepherd who had faced tough times and wanted to equip those he led for their tough times. Whether you face persecution, ostracism, injustice, unfairness, or passive-aggressive hostility from those around you, these words need to grab your heart and mold your behavior so that you can be an effective witness for Me.

For the Lord’s sake, accept the decrees and laws of all the various human institutions, whether they come from the highest human ruler or agents he sends to punish those who do wrong and to reward those who do well. You see, it is God’s will that by doing what is right and good you should hush the gabbing ignorance of the foolish. Live as those who are free and not as those who use their freedom as a pretext for evil, but live as God’s servants. Respect everyone. Love the community of believers. Reverence God. Honor your ruler.
(1 Peter 2:13-17)

If you are a slave, submit yourself to the master who has authority over you, whether he is kind and gentle or harsh as he deals with you. For grace is clearly at work when a person accepts undeserved pain and suffering and does so because he is mindful of God. For what credit is there in enduring punishment you deserve? But if you do what is right and yet are punished and endure it patiently, God will be pleased with you. For you were called to this kind of life, as Isaiah said,

He did no wrong deed,
and no evil word came from His mouth.

The Anointed One suffered for us and left us His example so that we could follow in His steps. When He was verbally abused, He didn’t return the abuse; when He suffered, He didn’t make threats to cause suffering in return; instead, He trusted that all would be put right by the One who is just when He judges.
(1 Peter 2:18-23)

Finally, all of you, be like-minded and show sympathy, love, compassion, and humility to and for each other — not paying back evil with evil or insult with insult, but repaying the bad with a blessing. It was this you were called to do, so that you might inherit a blessing.
(1 Peter 3:8-9)

Why would anyone harm you if you eagerly do good? Even if you should suffer for doing what is right, you will receive a blessing. Don’t let them frighten you. Don’t be intimidated, but exalt Him as Lord in your heart. Always be ready to offer a defense, humbly and respectfully, when someone asks why you live in hope. Keep your conscience clear so that those who ridicule your good conduct in the Anointed and say bad things about you will be put to shame.

For if it is the will of God that you suffer, then it is better to suffer for doing what is right than for doing what is wrong. The Anointed One suffered for sins once for all time — the righteous suffering for the unrighteous — so that He might bring us to God.
(1 Peter 3:13-18)

Response in Prayer

Holy and gracious Father, give me strength to be gracious and faithful in the face of injustice, unfairness, ostracism, and intolerance. I need Your help to faithfully demonstrate Your righteous character and Your gracious compassion. So I ask to be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit as I offer myself to You as Your willing servant and witness. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

I don’t know about you, but the next time someone wrongs me: I am going to react differently and more like Jesus did.

What about you?  Will you join me?  Your thoughts and comments would be appreciated.  What do you think?

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