The Second Greatest Commandment
An Attitude of Suffering – Part II
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 4:1-11 (NLT)
Key Verses: 1 Peter 4:1-2 (NLT) So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude He had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.
Maybe you do not think that treating another person poorly is sinful. You may think that treating another person poorly is okay when that is the way they treat you.
But when we understand that loving others is as important as loving God, then we can understand how critical it is to treat all people with kindness.
Today’s Key Verse reminds us that when we are willing to suffer for God, then we no longer have a continual practice of sin.
Isn’t it true that treating some people kindly would take suffering on your part?
The suffering I am thinking of is more emotional than physical. Showing loving kindness to some people makes us feel like they are taking advantage of us.
Our human response often is a need to let them know how much they hurt us. There are certainly times when we should talk to people that are continually hurting us, but that must be in a loving way.
Like so many relationship issues, it is not “what” we are saying but “how” we are saying it. What God is most concerned about is the “how” we are saying things.
When the Apostle James tells us to be slow to speak, he recognizes that the extra time helps us make sure that we do not explode with angry emotions when we do speak to someone about how they are treating us.
The Apostle Peter reminds us to follow the example of Jesus:
For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in His steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when He was insulted, nor threaten revenge when He suffered. He left His case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. (1 Peter 2:21-23 NLT)
When people insulted Jesus, He did not retaliate. What do you do when someone insults you?
When people made Jesus suffer, He never threatened revenge. What do you seek when someone causes you to suffer in some way?
This is hard, isn’t it? We must deal with our humanity which cries out for us to retaliate or seek revenge. There is suffering that takes place in us when we refuse our fleshly desires to get back at those who hurt us.
God rewards those who are determined to be more and more like Jesus in their responses to those around them! When God rewards us, it is far greater than any reward that comes from revengeful acts!
Father, please help me to love people like I want to them to love me. I am willing to suffer for the sake of Your Kingdom. In Jesus’s Name, amen.