Why do we suffer when we are trying to do good? If that happens to you, you are in good company! Look at Jeremiah and Jesus in today’s Bible readings. We really can’t avoid it! Sometimes we try to do what’s right thinking that we will win friends and influence people. But we soon realize that doing good doesn’t always make us popular.
First, there are some people who get pleasure from sin. When we speak up, it stings their conscience. To stop their sin involves some loss of pleasure, so their reaction is to try to shut us up or drive us away. This happens a lot in family life.
Secondly, some people actually make a profit from sin. Abortion, sex trafficking, pornography are just a few examples. When we speak out, we run up against the power and wealth of these and other industries. They will use whatever means available to intimidate us, destroy our reputation, or sue us. This happens a lot in politics and business.
Lastly, sometimes even our friends turn against us. They might be intimated because they fear attacks against them for standing with us. This can happen anywhere; among family, neighbors, or co-workers.
Don’t be surprised! This is all part of our fallen, sinful world. Following Jesus will inevitably lead to conflict with others who are not following Jesus.
At the same time, we can’t give in to hatred, bitterness, and self-righteousness either. If we do that, it certainly won’t help. Meditate slowly on the famous words of Saint Paul from our second reading, “Love is patient, love is kind. . . It is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury. . . It bears all things. . . Endures all things.” Our challenge is to learn to suffer while still practicing and showing love. We speak out in the hope that all will repent and be saved by entering the love of God. Don’t give up!
Rev. Mark Zacker