It’s Better to Suffer Wrong

It’s Better to Suffer Wrong

It may be God’s will that the most difficult thing he ever calls you to do is to endure being wronged, and to do so in a way that displays Christian character. It may be that the greatest challenge of your life will be to endure injustice with meekness and patience. It may be that God’s specific calling upon you is to suffer wrong and to do so without taking vengeance and without losing the joy of your salvation. But by looking back and looking up and looking forward, you can suffer well.

It’s a verse every Christian believes in until he suffers some great wrong. It’s a verse every Christian affirms until he is called to implement it in his own life. And it’s just then that the words seem to transform from clear to opaque, the application from simple to obscure. In 1 Corinthians 6:7 Paul speaks of lawsuits between believers and says “Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?” It’s better to suffer injustice within the church, he says, than to harm Christ’s cause before the world. It’s better to suffer harm quietly than to express outrage publicly. If you sue a brother and win, the church has already lost.

This is just one application of a much wider principle that is repeated throughout the New Testament, a principle that calls Christians to behave with humility and meekness, even in the face of grave injustice. Christians are not to retaliate when wronged, nor to repay evil with evil, nor to curse those who harm them. Rather, we are to bear patiently through suffering and persecution, we are to endure hardship, we are to entrust ourselves to God. We are to do all of this even—and perhaps especially—when our trials come at the hands of those who profess Christ.

None of this is easy. It is no small thing to suppress our natural instinct for vengeance or to set aside our natural longing for retaliation. It is no small thing to allow ourselves to be wronged and then to meekly suffer the consequences. It may be one of the greatest challenges we are ever called to face. Yet we can be equal to the challenge if we take hold of the grace God offers us.

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