For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.

1 Peter 2: 19, 20

If truth were to be told, most of us deserve more than we actually get by way of payment in terms of punishment for our sinfulness and by way of pain and suffering in response to that which we have inflicted upon others. Yet, where God is concerned, there is really no equity in these matters. He has taken on far more than He gives out, and in Christ, God accepted all of the deepest sorrow and the harshest pain as His own reward for sinlessness and for faithfulness. So, that which should be mine, was brutally beaten and pounded into Jesus’ flesh. The just judgement that my own evil ways deserves has been taken on by the only living being to be ever and steadfastly pure, perfect, and absolutely sinless in all regards. 

Now, we all do endure the outworking of the brokenness of our world. Each and every person that is born into life here will encounter illness, injury, loss, grief, and trials of many different types. This is the reality that surrounds us, and these are the circumstances that often haunt our days. It is also true that the more we seek to follow Christ in this world, the more likely it is that we will feel the sort of pain that is formed up out of caring for and about others. As we learn to love as Christ does, we enter into the lives of people at a deep and a substantive level where the real burdens of their days become the ones that inflict us with shared sorrow and with burdens accepted to help carry. In a very real sense, when we enter into supporting people in their days of need and times of trial, we are following Christ’s lead and answering God’s call to go into the world and make disciples of all people. Care and concern and burdens carried are verbs in a disciple of Christ’s vocabulary.

Sometimes the burdens that we take up will belong to people who are themselves unlovely, out of favor, or in many other ways disadvantaged or marginalized by our society. These are people that Jesus saw in the full light of heaven, for He viewed all people as lovely and every one of us as people for whom grace, mercy, and redemption were poured out on the cross. As Jesus took on the shame of sin for all people, so, too, are we to enter into carrying the burdens and sharing the sorrows of everyone. The dividing walls of culture, society, race, gender, life choices, nationality, and any other separating factors were broken down and eternally abolished by Jesus’ death and the resurrection from death that followed. If we are to suffer at the hands of injustice for the sake of entering into the sorrows and the burdens of those for whom justice is scarce, any pain of hardship that may befall us is for God’s glory and all that we might endure will be counted to our credit by Christ, the only true and righteous judge of people’s hearts. 

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