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Seeds of the Kingdom

Suffering for What?

by Tanya Person

If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs.
1 Peter 4:15, NLT

Most of us would agree that if we’ve done some big sin, like murder, it’s right that we should suffer. But how many of us think we should suffer for prying into other people’s affairs? The New International Version of the Bible calls that being a meddler, and the King James Version calls it being a busybody. How often do we call it trying to help someone? We justify ourselves by trying to believe that our motives are pure, but we’re only deceiving ourselves. Many times this type of behaviour leads to hurting others.

Sometimes we’re absolutely shocked and horrified by what’s happening in someone else’s life. Then we start to talk about it. “Did you hear about…? Isn’t it terrible?” What are we really doing in these cases? Many times I think we’re judging the person. We compare ourselves, and we’re so thankful that we’re not in their place!

James 4:11 says, ‘If you criticise and judge each other, then you are criticising and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you’.

So what does God want from us?

Scripture tells us we should be busy about our own business, and we’re to build one another up. We have a choice of how to respond to people. We can choose to build each other up and encourage the good in each other. Let’s look today for ways to build up those around us, rather than trying to pry into their affairs. Let’s ask God for wisdom in our relationships with others we’ll meet today.

And then we continue reading 1 Peter, which goes on to say, ‘But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!’ (1 Peter 4:16).

Recently I read a blog that really struck me. In it, the author said, ‘Instead of praying, “God, make it better,” I need to pray, “God, make it count”.’ She was being challenged to ask God to make the suffering count for something, rather than just praying for healing and rescue from situations. My husband and I have been meditating a lot on Romans 5:3-4 in the past several months, and that scripture ties in here too; ‘We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope’.

Reading them again in the New Living Translation of the Bible helps me to really apply it to my life: ‘We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation’. I want to make sure, if I am suffering, that I am suffering for God and that it is producing good fruit in my life!

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times when I’ve been a busybody and meddled in other people’s affairs. Forgive me for judging others. Help me to show Your love and compassion to all around me. Give me strength to endure suffering for You and let the trials I go through produce good things in my life for Your glory! Amen.

Tanya Person Tanya and her husband, Jim, were missionaries to Hungary for over 18 years. They have worked with Ellel since 2005. After serving in various positions with Ellel in Central and Eastern Europe, God led them back to the United States, where they are now serving with the Ellel USA team. They have a passion to see leaders restored, the church discipled and walking in God’s fullness of life and freedom, and for mentoring the existing and developing team. Tanya also enjoys crocheting and knitting in her free time and has written some children’s picture books.


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