Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!1 Peter 3:17 (NLT)
I was one of the lucky few to have my own car during my sophomore year in high school. It provided me a lot of freedom to get to varsity practices, school, and other events on time. It also allowed me the opportunity to hang out with my friends more often. (This was before Facetime, so people actually hung out together. Weird, I know.) My parents had two rules for me to maintain my freedom. I was supposed to tell them exactly where I was going and be back by curfew. That was it. Simple.
For the most part, I abided by the rules. I was careful to tell them where I was and be back before curfew. Of course, there were the very few times when I got home late. This resulted in the loss of my car for a few days. My dad was always good at pointing out that the penalty was earned by my actions, not imposed by him. It was my actions that triggered the consequences, and I needed to learn from them. I chose to forfeit the use of my car.
When we do wrong things, there will be consequences. Sure, maybe not immediate, but there are consequences – eroded trust, broken friendships, health issues, etc. These consequences aren’t the result of the authorities, or even God, being unfair and punishing us. The consequences are a result of our choices. They are the result of our sin. We screw up. We know it. Now, we must face the consequences of our actions, whatever that may be.
This is why Peter states something so simple, yet often times hard to grasp. “It is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong.” In other words, would you rather face the consequences of your sin, or face different consequences because you did the right thing? So, what are the consequences for doing good? As an example, standing up for a person whom your friends made fun of and now they won’t talk to you. It was the right thing to do. Face the consequences knowing this.
All of our actions and consequences are the result of our choices. Choose wisely. Don’t choose sinful consequences. Choose righteous (doing what is right) consequences. One leads to death. The other leads to Christ. One leads to sorrow and misery. The other, peace and joy.