Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.1st Peter 4:16 ESV
Living in the country that we do it would be difficult to say that Christians in North America really “suffer” for their faith. When we see news of beheadings, persecution, and the jailing of our brothers and sisters in countries like China and regions like the Middle East and Africa, it seems silly to compare to what we may face here. This is what goes through my mind when I see folks start posting about the Starbucks war on Christmas because of a cup choice they made. Often these stories are blown out of proportion to get more clicks or views to help the content creators ad revenue.
However, we should not overlook the fact that, as followers of Christ, we are called to stand for some unpopular things at times. We won’t tolerate racist or sexist jokes, regardless if you’re making fun of women or men; regardless of the ethnicity being poked at. We shouldn’t tolerate cutting corners on the job or unethical business practices. When we stand against these things it may cost connections, it may get us labeled, it may make the room uncomfortable. Is this suffering? Not in the same sense when we compare to the rest of the world but perhaps in our culture, it is.
But if our eyes are fixed on the cross, the emblem of suffering and shame and yet at the same time the symbol of our hope, then none of this matters. Today’s verse calls us to remember Christ’s suffering. Scripture also tells us to count it all joy that we can share in suffering for His namesake. Christ tells us in His word that He would never leave us nor forsake us. Not that we’d never have problems, feel pain, be sad, suffer loss, and even real persecution; but that we would never go through these things alone.
And that my friends is worth suffering for.