Badge of Honor
But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 1 Peter 4:13:13-14
I don’t drink alcohol. I’ve got a problem with chemicals and so, we don’t keep alcohol in our house, and I don’t ever indulge – ever. Because my addiction and the subsequent disaster was so public, and because I’ve been quite vocal about my recovery, everyone knows my story. I don’t attend many parties (I don’t enjoy crowds) but still, I’m occasionally around those who do consume alcohol. I don’t mind. There are plenty of people who can drink without going overboard. I’m just not one of them.
In that situation however, since everyone knows about my problem, I often feel that I make the one who does drink uncomfortable. I’ve never really faced ridicule for my problem with chemicals or my refusal to drink and since I’ve been in recovery, I’ve never had anyone try to convince me to drink. I imagine though, when I’m not in the room, there may be some jokes made at my expense. Maybe it would hurt if I overheard it, but just knowing that others may think of me as peculiar or that I might be the subject of ridicule for my story, doesn’t bother me. My addiction was so miserable and my recovery so joyful, that I simply don’t care if anyone would mock me for it. In fact, I’m proud enough of my recovery, that I’d consider any mockery of it as a badge of honor.
In today’s passage, Peter said we should have a similar attitude about our faith. Loving our enemies, following God’s will instead of our own, and turning the other cheek, are all behaviors that are counterintuitive to the world. The world in fact, may deride and mock us for our beliefs and actions. If and when this happens, Peter said we must consider it a badge of honor. Just as Christ suffered at the hands of the world, we identify and become more like him when we endure suffering for following him.
There’s a potential pitfall here. As Christians, we may be tempted to just be weird or belligerent just for the sake of being countercultural. Peter said this isn’t helpful. We’re not to be evildoers or meddlers (verse 15) just to be different or offensive. Following Christ will always be strange enough in itself. If others mock us for that, we’re simply to accept it as a badge of honor – identifying with Christ, becoming more like him through suffering.