“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.’” -1 Peter 3:13-14 (NIV)
I was once told that nobody will punish you for doing what is right. However, as I became older and my awareness of history and the world around me grew, I realized that sometimes this is not true. In Germany during the Second World War, people who showed any compassion to the plight of their Jewish neighbors, and gave of themselves to shelter them during their persecution, were brutally punished by the Nazi regime. Today under tyrannical governments that have no respect for human life, there are those who suffer because of their struggle to defend fundamental human rights. Even in societies where justice and integrity are officially respected and promoted, people in power often bully or pressure others into doing that which is unethical and immoral. Under such intimidation it is easy to silence ourselves in proclaiming what is right, and though every fiber of our being wants to take a stand against such wickedness, we fail to do so because of our fear.
When we are called to be bearers of Christ’s righteousness we are not guaranteed an easy task. What we are promised is that we will be mocked and persecuted for His name. But why? What drives people to be so opposed to Christ and those who proclaim Him by their words and actions? It is fear. When we allow the Spirit of Christ to invade our hearts and allow His righteousness to be made manifest in our lives, it acts as a light dispelling the darkness. God’s holy standards expose the wickedness of men and naturally, those who bend to their innate depravity do not like this. They will do all they can to hide from the light and silence the voice of truth. However, when we have identified ourselves with Christ and seek to follow Him, we will not fear the light for it protects and vindicates those who dwell within it. Therefore we will not be afraid of allowing the righteousness of Christ to shine forth from our lives knowing that His truth will always triumph. Our obedience to Christ will ultimately serve towards the restoration of all who see Him through us; even those who stand against us.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.