If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.1 Peter 4:14 NIV
I live in the United States, like many who will be reading this. As Christians, we enjoy a level of freedom that is unknown in many parts of the world. Very seldom does anyone face any real suffering here because of their faith. We have the freedom to gather whenever we want, although there are some masking mandates in place that most Christians seem to ignore. To our shame. Our contributions to our church, and other charities, are tax exempt. We have a level of religious freedom that most people in the world, and throughout history, could not imagine.
Yet all too often we take that freedom for granted. As if it were our God-given right. But is it? If it is, how do we explain the very real suffering that many believers throughout history, and in the world today, are undergoing. The Scripture is clear that all who will seek to live godly lives will face persecution and suffering (2 Tim. 3:12). Jesus told us that the world that rejects him will also reject us (John 15:18-21). If we are getting along with the world around us, that should be cause for great alarm (Jam. 4:4).
Responding to Suffering
This first letter of Peter to the scattered church has much to say about suffering and how to respond to it. And this verse is a part of that, although insult is probably the mildest form of suffering we might face. We should respond to insult with joy, because God’s blessing will come to us. We should be thankful for insult and suffering. Instead we all too often moan and complain because we are not respected the way we think we deserve to be. Or because our ‘rights’ are being threatened. And we respond, not with joy, but with anger, or should I say ‘righteous indignation’.
I realize that responding joyfully to insult, and other suffering, is hard. But it is what we are called to do (Matt. 5:11, 44). And we will grow in our faith when we do. Rejoice in the refiner’s fire of suffering for Christ. And that includes being insulted for the name of Christ. Know that it will result in praise, honor, and glory when our Lord is revealed in the end (1 Pet. 1:6-7).