Think about all the scripture that says Christians will suffer for His namesake, and for the cause of Christ. There’s bunches of it all throughout the Old Tesatment, Gospels, and the Epistles. Joshua, Jeremiah and Job. Mark, Matthew, and many, many others. Peter, Paul and a plethora of followers. If you are a Christian, AND you are suffering, is it all for the sake of Jesus?
As a new Christian I would often tell myself that whatever I was going through, homelessness, poverty, ridicule, was for Christ’s sake (well, at least I recall saying “for Christ’s sake! quite frequently). To some degree that’s true because there are some quick easy (albeit temporary) ways out of that discomfort and one must decide to sit it out. Yet, as I matured in faith the Holy Spirit revealed some sobering truth that REALLY made me suffer. Although I had a right to claim comfort from those scriptures about criticism and suffering, not to confuse…suffering FOR THE TRUTH with SUFFERING FOR MY CONSEQUENCES!! Yikes.
I wasn’t on the outs with my friends because I stuck up for Jesus…I was on the outs because I was a bully and wrong and defending myself and not letting go of the need to be right.
Nope, not unemployed for evangelism but got the boss fired up for me royally f’ing up!
NOT homeless from donating the ole’ hamlet to the Holy…evicted as a spun out alcoholic/addict, having forfeited my already compromised ability to be a productive citizen.
My friends weren’t in jail as a result of risking their lives by preaching the gospel in a hostile hell hole. It was because they got caught toting guns, driving drunk, slinging dope.
My son wasn’t lacking leadership and my daughter a motherless child because I was out on a daring mission in a dangerous place…it was because I needed some righteous rehab.
No, the Holy Spirit didn’t say it’s wrong to comfort those in jail with scriptures about Paul being in jail, or comfort anyone suffering with any scripture…He showed me it was wrong to confuse suffering for TRUTH with suffering for CONSEQUENCES. That owning my part in the problems, would help me participate in the solutions. It was actually quite liberating!Jesus is there for you either way. Truth or consequences, whatever got you to be where you’re at is a mute matter to Jesus and His brand of Justice. He will relieve your discomfort, and the Holy Spirit will reveal the cause. Why are you here and what to do about it. Ahem…yeah, right! No, it’s not always that simple. And it’s rarely easy.
Sometimes things aren’t always that polarized. Sometimes people are right for the wrong reasons and wrong for the right reasons. What then? Amazingly, God has all that covered too. Two, three, four or more, all uncomfortable in their seats, faithfully and fervently believing they are champions for their churches, fighting for their families, wrangling against the wretched….it can get pretty heated. A whole lotta truth and a whole lotta consequence flying around.
Regardless of the source of your discomfort, one thing we humans tend to have in common when we get uncomfortable
is to ignore the proverbial elephant in the room until it sits on us. Then you have elephant butt to deal with and might mistake that for truth or consequence when it’s neither. And that could be, well, just crappy.
I believe if we all put first a desire to make things right over a desire to be right, we have a better chance of identifying what really needs to be addressed in any given situation. Regardless of where you are in life, paying for truth or paying with consequences, God is there and you’re going to be alright. But is is much more satisfying to know that regardless of truth or consequence, one doesn’t come without the other and you’re there for something you believe in. And it’s good to be in it with others that have a heart for the truth too.