We’ve heard the saying everyone has his cross to bear. That is actually true specifically for those who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ.
This is a truth that is a very HARD pill to swallow for many of us and many of us tend to be wise in our own opinions in spite of what the word of God says.
I expect people to be a certain way whether they’re a believer or not, but I recently realized that as believers there are certain things we should expect in this life and certain things we should not. Respect from people (especially when we share the truth of God’s word) is not something to expect. Expecting people to be kind because we were kind, expecting people to forgive because we forgave, expecting people to be be loving because we were loving to them, these are expectations that usually end up disappointing us as believers and making us feel like doormats who need to cease from doing good since it’s rewards seem unfavorable in this world, but we are told in scripture, ” And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. ” Galatians 6:9. So we can expect bad treatment, to be ridiculed, persecution, unfair treatment, but we can also patiently wait in expectation of God to be with us delivering and avenging us for all we have endured, but we cannot expect anything from this world or the people of the world (unbelievers).
It it is written that our citizenship is in heaven, Philippians 3:20. When you’re a citizen of a place you expect certain rights but if you’re not from there you should not expect rights of those who are citizens, though you may be permitted to have some of those rights in your stay there you should never just expect it. Our expectations, our hope really, is supposed to be on the things from where out citizenship is, in heaven, and in the promises of God which He made to those who love Him.
All of this may sound crazy to the natural man but spiritually it is something very important for us to grasp because Jesus was disrespected countless times. He was spat on, slapped, humiliated hanging practically naked on a tree for us. Now Jesus Christ is our Lord, He is our teacher, we are His servants. The Lord Himself has said, “Remember the word that I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you as well; if they kept My word, they will keep yours as well. ” John 15:20. We were told to remember this yet we stay forgetting, (myself included). I think of defending myself often and ended up behaving just like those who don’t even know God, all for the sake of defending myself of rights I believe I am entitled to.
It is written in Philippians, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him..” Philippians 1:29. SUFFER. That is a serious word. What do we think that suffering is supposed to look like? Paul said the same conflicts in which we saw and now hear is in him. Philippians 1:29. What conflicts or sufferings did we see Paul experience in his writings? All kinds. Disrespect, abuse, having his name slandered as being an evil doer when he was not, etc etc. He mentioned some of them in 2 Corinthians 1:8. We read what he faced through the book of Acts as well and what he shared throughout his many letters which were to instruct in righteousness, comfort, and forewarn us.
There are lots of people in jail because they didn’t want anyone to disrespect them. There are lots of people in the grave because they didn’t want anybody to disrespect them or treat them like a doormat so they defended themselves the best way they know how and that is through carnal means, either violence, or just using words that are not wholesome and that do not bring about peace but that generated more strife.
This is very important to understand not only because it can help to make our sufferings more bearable by providing comfort and encouragement that what we are going through is not in vain and without reward, but because Jesus said that in order to be His disciples we must deny ourselves (daily) take up our cross and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24). When we allow ourselves to be treated like doormats in this world it’s nothing to be ashamed of because we are imitating our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and sharing in His sufferings.
I have these posted on my bedroom wall as a reminder because some days I get so overwhelmed with what I think is unfair treatment.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” Hebrews 10:36