I think it should be important to point out the statement here, “If anyone suffers as a Christian”, since we do an awful lot of suffering. I think it would be easy to miss the distinction.
We all suffer to some extent. Some suffer from insufferable pain. Others from life circumstances they’ve thrust upon themselves. Still others from what others have done to them. But how much of your suffering is done “as a Christian”? What does that mean?
For one thing, I don’t think it means when you leave a tract instead of a tip, and then the server cussed you out that you are “persecuted for the faith!” That’s just being cheap and ungrateful. That’s not Christian.
For another, I don’t think it means standing up for the old hymns when everyone else wants to sing choruses at the worship service, or insisting on using hymn books when others use a screen. It’s not insisting everyone use the King James Bible because the others are “full of errors” because all of that is just insisting on your own rights above others, which is not the counsel of Scripture. You are not suffering “as a Christian” when others don’t agree with your worship preference. Playing the martyr and being a martyr are two very different things.
If you suffer as a Christian, you are experiencing active persecution. We don’t know much about that here in America until here recently with the COVID. When the government chooses to block you from worship, and you go anyway and get arrested for going to church, that is suffering as a Christian, because you are suffering because you are obeying God’s command to attend with a church.
If you go to church and Islamic insurgents come and burn down the building with you in it, then you are suffering as a Christian. If you are beaten because you have a Bible, are caught telling someone about Jesus, or wear a cross, then you are suffering as a Christian.
These are occasions to glorify God. These are occasions to “consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials.” These are the ones who cry out from under the altar and ask the Lord how much longer have to wait until judgment day. These are the martyrs, who give their life because that is better than giving up Jesus. They are persecuted and put to death all day long for His sake, and glory awaits them, not the person who got offended by your choice of music for the worship service.
Lord help me today not be so easily offended by things that don’t matter. I know that real persecution exists, and let me lift up my brothers and sisters who really suffer it. Father I lift up all those who even today are laying down their lives because of their faith in Jesus. May You welcome them with open arms. Thank You Jesus for Your love and grace and peace. In Your Name I pray, Amen.