I’ve been cheated, been mistreated. When will I be loved?
I remember singing that Linda Ronstadt song in my wandering years when I performed in a nightclub, but recently that was the cry of my heart. Okay, so maybe I was being just a bit melodramatic, but I have my moments when I feel as if the world is ganging up on me. If you’re honest, so do you.
This particular moment, though, was especially hurtful. I was demonstrating concern for someone I love, and I ended up taking a hit because of something that wasn’t even my fault. Why should I be punished for doing something good?
As I tucked tail and ran into my emotional corner, I asked myself, “Why do I bother? What do I gain from all this?” And the answer hit me instantly between the eyes.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
Then I remembered. It’s not for me. It never was. That truth first stung and then became a salve. In my hurt, I had made my service about me. But the fact that it wasn’t about me became a comfort. If I am doing something for the glory of God – which His Word tells me should be everything I do – then I cannot take a rebuke so personally. When I am hated, it’s because He was hated first.
Then I realized my suffering for a wrong I hadn’t even committed was a good thing.
“Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.” – 1 Peter 2:18-20
Another translation says that suffering unjustly is “commendable before God.” So while men may revile me, God is commending me. Hmm. Let me think about this. Praise from men or praise from God? I’ll go with praise from God.
But not only is suffering unjustly commendable before God, it’s even our duty. Ouch.
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.” – 1 Peter 2:21
The key phrase here is because Christ also suffered for you. Though without sin, Jesus became sin for us, suffering and dying at the hands of sinful men. He didn’t deserve to suffer. Can I make that claim? Can you? Can either of us go even a few seconds without entertaining a sinful thought or uttering a careless word? Set your stopwatch now . . .
“Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:3
To my dying day I will struggle with my sinful flesh. (Romans 7 is a great exposition of our dual nature as believers.) Yet even in my frailty, Jesus continues to pour His grace into my life. If He can continue to show love to me, then I can continue to show love to others – because it is not my love to give but His. And that, my friends, is available in endless supply.