Thursday, July 5, 2012

1 Peter 2:19-23 -- On Patience and Stretch Goals

"For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:"
1 Peter 2:19-23

In these verses God asks us to be patient in suffering even when we are unjustly accused or suffering for someone else's actions.  I think that this is harder than suffering for something that we know we did wrong, since on some level when that happens, we get that we probably deserve it, or at least that we caused it ourselves.  When we do the right thing, and then suffer for it, that's harder than just whatever we are going through, because mentally we have to also suffer through the stark injustice of the whole thing... we don't deserve this at ALL, and why is it happening, etc.

Just as when God asks us to love our enemies, and says that there is little reward for loving people who love us (Matthew 5:46)... he also here asks us to go a step further.  If we suffer for things that we brought on ourselves, that's pretty much par for the course.  If we really want to step up and learn the lesson, then we need to be patient even when suffering wrongfully.

This earth life is a test... a proving ground where we find out who we are, and where we'll be most comfortable in eternity.  Are we capable of loving only our families or close friends, or can we go further?  Can we love more... even to the extent of loving strangers... or those we perceive as our enemies?  Are we capable only of being patient in light affliction, or suffering that we brought on ourselves?  Or can we do more, and bear our burdens even when they are heavy and unjustly dealt?  No matter the lesson, there is probably another level... a stretch goal.  Something that it takes a lot more to reach. 

Today, let's work on following the example of the Savior, in loving more and being more patient even when things happen that don't make sense and that we definitely don't deserve.

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