Helpful or hurtful?

How helpful am I…really?

It is the age old question: What do you say when someone is suffering? What do you tell a hurting soul to encourage them? How do we HELP?

Whatever the correct answer is, everything I have been taught, everything I have been told seems to run counter to how Peter approached the suffering saints in his first letter. His readers were suffering in their relationships with their masters, suffering as a result of their government, suffering because of their spouses, and in all respects were suffering for their faith.

Peter’s approach to their pain was not sympathy, rather, his intent was to instruct, remind, and prepare.

He began by instructing his readers regarding God’s sovereign election and His setting them apart for His purposes. Election, really?! Isn’t that a controversial and questionable theology suitable only for stale classroom discussions among people who think too deeply and without much pastoral concern?

His follow up to encouragement via good theology is praise. Praising God for the new birth. Praising God and having joy because of a hope securely protected in heaven. Praising God for His mercy that motivated Him to cause them to be born again.

Wait…MERCY?! He told suffering people to praise God for His MERCY?! Yup…

Then there is THIS winner: While praising God remember that suffering is only for a little while, is necessary, and is God’s will.

God WANTS me to suffer?! According to Peter, suffering was the pattern Jesus left for us to follow. Rather than being extraordinary, suffering and pain are, well, ordinary.

And get this…

The suffering that brings growth and honor to God is suffering that is unjust, unfair, and undeserved. Suffering unjustly while living faithfully is what brings believers into a special place of intimacy with the Savior and is the only path to that intimacy.

So what are the suffering supposed to do with this?

Fervently love one another for starters, followed up with serving others, and concluding with submitting to leaders, because that is what humility under the mighty hand of God does.


No, WOW!

I wonder if weakness and spiritual immaturity is a direct result of not being faithful and grounded in what God has given as foundational. I wonder if Jesus is truly our anchor or have we anchored our hope in what we WANT Jesus to do for us. I wonder if a lack of maturity is due to a fixation on our suffering instead of hope that fixates on our relationship with God through Jesus and praises Him for it.

I wonder if I am truly helpful when trying to help those who are hurting. I wonder if pain in my life is met with truth or fantasy.

Read First Peter in its entirety. Read it in one sitting. It is time to re-think what is indeed helpful and hopeful.

1 thought on “Helpful or hurtful?

  1. Janine Bolton

    So blessed by this. I shared a comment on FacePlace. I have many friends who will be touched by this. I will share more soon.
    Keeping you in my prayers. He has big plans for you! That is evident.



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