|Some of my suffering results directly from my own sin.
|Proverbs 6:27-35; 11:17b, 29a; 14:32a; 15:18a; 18:6, 28:1a, 10a, 17; 29:6a, 22, 24; 1 Peter 2:20a, Sin has inevitable earthly consequences.|
|1 Kings 11:1-13, Case Studies: Solomon|
|1 Kings 12:1-19, Case Studies: Rehoboam|
|Esther 3:1-11, 6:1-12, 7:1-10, Case Studies: Haman|
|2 Peter 2:9-19, Sinners are slaves to corruption.|
|Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 45: Luke 22:55-62, Peterís Denial, by Carl H. Bloch|
|Some of my suffering results directly from someone elseís sin.
|Leviticus 19:10; Amos 8:4-6; Luke 16:19-31, Greed and societal injustice case suffering.|
|Ezekiel 4:1-17, Prophets often suffer for the sins of the people.|
|Matthew 14:1-11, Prophets often suffer at the hands of the people.|
|Luke 10:30-37; Matthew 21:33-40, Crime causes suffering.|
|2 Corinthians 11:23-31, We may be privileged to suffer for Christ.|
Peter makes an interesting and powerful argument about the end result of personal sin. We donít commit habitual sins because we are ďfree to do as we please.Ē Instead, habitual sin shows that we are slaves to corruption. The words translated slaves and enslaved in vs. 19 mean just that Ė slavery, not hired service. The word translated corruption means destruction and moral depravity, not taking bribes or embezzlement. Itís no wonder that my sins cause me to suffer, because they mean that Iím selling myself on the auction block, and my price is destruction and death.|
Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 45: Luke 22:55-62, Peterís Denial, by Carl H. Bloch (7/31/15)
Somebody Else's SinLeviticus 19:10; Amos 8:4-6; Luke 16:19-31, Greed and societal injustice case suffering. (12/1/14)
Last week we saw that a good deal of my suffering is the result of my own sin. Well! Enough of that! This week weíre going to look at the case for some of my suffering being the direct result of someone elseís sin.
This is a time of year when even the Grinches are likely to throw a nickel into the Salvation Armyís bucket. Nevertheless, one of the chief causes of suffering is greed on the part of people who either want more or wonít share from the bounty they already have. Acquiring wealth is not, in and of itself, a sin. Both acquiring wealth by unscrupulous means and keeping more than you need when you could use it to alleviate suffering are sins, as we see in todayís reading. In particular, they are sins that cause hunger, illness, homelessness, and other kinds of suffering. As Iíve mentioned before, I know you and I are wealthy, because we wouldnít be sending and reading this email if we werenít. We should be especially careful not to be Grinches at any time of the year.
Ezekiel 4:1-17, Prophets often suffer for the sins of the people. (12/2/14)
Being a prophet is a tough job. When the queen isnít putting a price on your head (1 Kings 19:2) and the king isnít throwing you in jail (1 Kings 22:27), God is asking you to make sacrifices on behalf of a sinful people. God tells Ezekiel to act out a parable of the punishment that Jerusalem will undergo for its long-term and unrepentant apostasy. The city will be besieged; Ezekiel must confine himself behind an iron griddle representing the siege. The people will be starving; Ezekiel is allowed to eat 10 ounces of grain and to drink about two and a half cups of water a day. He is to do this for a little over a year.
The amazing thing about this is the nature of Ezekielís objection. Does he say the people arenít worth the suffering he is to undergo? No. Does he point out that heís Godís man and doesnít deserve this treatment? No. His only objection is that using human dung to cook his food (as the besieged citizens of Jerusalem will have to do) will defile him. God allows him to used cow dung instead.
Matthew 14:1-11, Prophets often suffer at the hands of the people. (12/3/14)
God sends prophets only to sinful people; unfortunately sinful people often arenít very happy about the prophetic message they receive. John the Baptist is one example of prophets who suffer because they take the message of God to the people who need it the most. Pray for missionaries and others who spread Godís word.
Luke 10:30-37; Matthew 21:33-40, Crime causes suffering. (12/4/14)
When youíre reading a parable, itís normally important to think to yourself, ďWhat is the single theological point of this parable?Ē Neither of todayís parables is about crime. The Parable of the Good Samaritan is Jesusí answer to the question, ďWho is my neighbor?Ē The Parable of the Wicked Tenants is about the reception given by evil people to Godís prophets and Godís son.
Even so, Iím using these parables as illustrations of the idea that we may suffer as the result of someone elseís sin. This is especially true for criminal acts. Nearly all crimes cause the victims and the families and friends of the victims to suffer immediately, and often for a long time. Most crimes cause the perpetrator to suffer sooner or later. Nearly all crimes are sins; donít commit them.
2 Corinthians 11:23-31, We may be privileged to suffer for Christ. (12/5/14)
Iíve always been a little amused at Paul. For a person who says, ďFar be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,Ē (Galatians 6:4) he spends a great deal of time telling his congregations why he is the least, the most, the proudest, the humblest, the hardest-working, the simplest, or whatever other Ėest you can imagine, of all the apostles. I think he was probably perfectly sincere in believing that he never boasted; thatís not what Iím talking about today. Paul suffered a great deal because of other peopleís sins: he was lashed, beaten, stoned, robbed, betrayed, and worried nearly to death about the sins of his converts. Thanks be to God, who gave him the victory!
More on Why Suffering?
Suffering does not originate with God.
Most suffering is caused by sin and evil.
Some suffering results from my own sin or someone else's sin.
God punishes sin to instruct us.
Some suffering results from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
God is with us, and God and our Christian family share the burden of our suffering.
Copyright 2014, 2015, 2016 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.
Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants. Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm. All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.
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