1 Peter 4: Responding Appropriately
I think all of us can relate to the description of persecution in 1 Peter 4. This isn’t necessarily describing a life or death situation (although it would include that it seems), but it seems to be describing any time we have a situation where it is a challenge to be a Christian.
1Pe 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
1Pe 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
1Pe 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
Even when it is something as minor as someone making a sarcastic remark about Christianity, we have the opportunity to respond. We can respond in anger and try to get even. We can try to tear down the other person in return, or we can respond with happiness. It certainly seems counterintuitive to respond with happiness. After all, no one likes to do with anything unpleasant even if it is as seemingly insignificant as a passing remark.
Naturally, if it is a life or death situation, the challenge becomes even greater. In incredible physical and emotional pain, it would be even harder to respond to persecution with happiness. I don’t know what I would do in this situation. I know what I should do, but I also recognize that I am in imperfect human being, and like Peter, I can certainly have a moment of weakness.
Therefore, let’s think about how we respond to situations where it is not necessarily easy to be a Christian. It is probably nothing too serious for those of us in America. Persecution is much more serious in other places around the world. However, even for those of us who do have lesser degrees of persecution, we can still respond to it with happiness as Peter encourages us.