The Witness of Suffering

1 Peter 3:13-18

We’d all like to be witnesses for Christ. If we faithfully display His righteousness, love, patience, and joy in our interactions with others, it’s logical to think they’ll be drawn to Jesus. Yet while that’s true for some, many have an opposite reaction.

Jesus called believers the light of the world and said we’re to let our light shine so men will see our good deeds and glorify God (Matt. 5:14-16). But He also said, “All who do evil hate the light” because it exposes their sin (John 3:20 NLT). Then Jesus warned that if men persecuted Him, they would also persecute His disciples (John 15:20).

History has proven Christ’s words to be true. He was hated and crucified, all His disciples except John were martyred, and throughout history Christians have been persecuted in numerous places around the globe. Yet despite all this, the church still marches forward, and people continue to be saved.

While the righteous conduct of the saints and the preaching of the gospel may not always win the lost, many have been converted by watching how Christians suffered. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs describes believers voluntarily laying down their life—even singing, praying, and praising God as they faced excruciating deaths. In parts of the world today, believers are still being faithful witnesses for Christ with their response to persecution and suffering.

Although most of us are not facing intense hatred, our lives may be an irritation to those living in darkness. When we face slander, mocking, or mistreatment because of our faith, let’s remember that a godly response may be our most effective witness.

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