Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“Love your enemies; bless those who curse you; do good to them who hate you; and pray for those who despitefully use you, so that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven.”
Jesus, in Matthew 5:44-45
We do not know how to live without God’s help. Jesus has to teach us how to think, how to behave, and how to feel. It is the natural reaction of the flesh to retaliate against hurt, to return evil for evil, pain for pain, and attack with counter-attack. Jesus has to teach us how to hurt.
Jacob learned how to hurt during his twenty-year sojourn in his wicked Uncle Laban’s house. He was a conniver, crafty and self-serving, but he learned through suffering to trust God to be his avenger for wrongs done to him and to be his provider of all things that he would need to live a safe and happy life.
Peter exhorted the saints to follow the example of Jesus, “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 who judgeth righteously.”
Jesus knew how to hurt. He knew how to make his pain work for him instead of angrily surrendering his integrity to it. He took his hurt to God, trusting Him to comfort and encourage him. When he was abused, he took advantage of that time of pain to draw closer to God, to win the sympathy of His tender heart, and, yes, to be made even more perfect than he was. The author of Hebrews speaks of this when he wrote, “though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things that he suffered” (Heb. 5:8), and again, “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things . . . to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Heb. 2:10).
Like Jesus, your faith will be either ruined or perfected by one thing-your reaction to suffering: to disappointment, to being wronged, and to being misunderstood and maligned. Jesus showed us all how to use the evil done to us for our advantage. Now, all we need is faith to believe that doing as he did will bring us into eternal glory, as it did him.