“For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.” (1 Peter 2:20).
Rumi, a Persian Poet, born 807 years ago said this, “the hurt you embrace becomes joy.” When you think about it, mistreating another human being is somewhat equal to digging one’s own grave, especially when we do this to the most vulnerable in our society – children and old and weaker people. However, don’t we know we live in a world where people mistreat and hurt the weak on a going basis. What else can a world taint by sin offer to people?
Our today’s insight teaches something unique and special to remember in our daily life on this earth. When we behave and act badly and then as a result if we get harsh treatment for our behavior and action, is there any credit, even if we endure the punishment with patience? No, not really. However, think the opposite way. When you do what is right and then end up suffering for it and if you patiently endure it, guess what the Bible says you find favor with God. Other translations say you are commendable before God.
Suppose the queen of England or the president of US commend you for something good you have done. How do you feel and what is that means to you? So now think about the King of kings and Lords of lords, the creator God, who rules over all on this planet earth and the whole universe spotted you and commended you. The translation we used today says ‘finds favor’ with God. If we are spotted, commended by God and got favor with Him, don’t you agree we are up to a high reward/promotion from the hands of the Lord? Yes, for sure. I don’t know what that promotion is going to be. However, it will be a high reward in this life and afterlife in heaven based on the promise of God (Matthew 19:29 and Luke 18:29).
Beloved, read and let the words of the Lord go deep into your discouraged, fainted and wounded heart. “But if when you do what is right and suffer for it, you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.” The Lord in heaven and His angels stand up and give honor to that man or woman.
Remember the incident of the martyrdom of Stephen. When they heard these things from him, the people gnashes at him with their teeth. However, Stephen, being filled with the Holy Spirit of God, looked at heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God ready to receive Stephen with honor and applauds. Stephen was immediately promoted to the glory in heaven. They stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and said, “Lord, Jesus, receive my spirit.” He knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” Also, when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:54-60). They could kill his body, but they could never kill his spirit. He was promoted to glory in heaven right in the presence of the Lord.
Beloved, God will reward you, if you do what is right and suffer for it patiently. Many years Joseph suffered the mistreatment and cruel jealousy of his brothers. Although many years (probably over ten years) gone by, God in heaven did not forget Joseph. He honored and rewarded Joseph by lifting him to the most powerful position of the then world empire, Egypt. Daniel and his three friends had to do what is right in the sight of the Lord in a foreign land where people worshipped idols and humanmade images. For doing right, they suffered severely there. However, God did not forget them. He honored them by giving highest position there in a pagan country, and God’s name was magnified and glorified in the land filled with idols.
Remember the words of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” If the perfect God-man, the Son of God, was hated by this world and suffered in the hands of sinful and wicked people, then what about us- imperfect, weak who try to follow the footsteps of Him? Bible reminds us to “Consider Jesus who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3
Don’t you know Christ’s suffering was not the final chapter of his life? It was the beginning of a new chapter of worldwide blessings coming to all the families of the earth according to the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 12. Stephen’s suffering was not the final chapter. A more powerful soldier for Christ, Apostle Paul, was the result. Though He supported the stoning and murder of Stephen, Paul turned around and began the work that Stephen left off. Our suffering is not the final chapter of our life either.
In God’s economy, per our Bible verse today, when we do what is right and suffer for it patiently, it finds favor in the sight of the Lord and a high reward and promotion would be the outcome. The quotation of Rumi is partially correct. “The hurt you embrace becomes joy.” However, it becomes joy only first of all because God’s Holy Spirit indwells in the child of God and secondly, God is faithful in spotting and rewarding us when we face such painful and most heartbreaking times.
Beloved, got a moment for today’s prayer? “Father in heaven, please grant me the strength and power to do what is right in your sight. Weak as I am, I need your help to do this, Lord. Also, Lord please give me the divine patience to endure the sufferings. I know Jesus is an example to follow in this regard. I believe Jesus died for my sins and rose again. I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. Please save me and reward me with your love. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.”