1 Peter 2:20 “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”
(a) For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently?
As Christians, we esteem our own selves highly when we patiently in Christ, overcome verbal assault or mockery in regards to our past errors, inconsistencies or wrongful doing. We pray, we search the scripture, we plead with God for Grace and strength to withstand the scoffers, and as we overcome, we feel a sense of victory.
However difficult and trying that may be, and Lord know’s these kinds of situations can be tremendously taxing, yet scriptures begs the question, “for what glory is it?”. Consider a christian man who is faced with a situation, where in his local church he is labelled and set aside from leadership simply because of a past sin or fault. But with prayer and patience in Christ endures, showing continual love for the brethren and stays a faithful attendee. That’s character, and this is evident to onlookers by his actions.
(b). .but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
In light of this latter part of the verse, consider the very same man, but without past faults, in fact an elder in the church with 20 years of service, yet out of nowhere is falsely accused of attempted rape of a troubled young woman from the youth. Without fair judgement, the Pastor and leadership expel the elder, and tell him never to return to the church again. This is no ordinary church, this is his home, a church where his majority of friends attend, a church where he grew up, a church close and dear to his heart, but he accepts the ruling.
Why? Because too return would endanger the church, possibly causing a split and further damage to an already fragile membership. But if only it ended there, living a in small community, the town citizens soon hear the rumblings in the wind, his friends close their doors to him, other churches refuse to accept him and he is stared at in the streets, with vehement disgust. His image is tarnished, his testimony is gone and the only one who know’s his innocence, is the LORD. That friend, is “acceptable with God”.
(c) The Right Kind of Glory
The “Glory” in 1 Peter 2:20 has nothing to do with what is esteemed in the eyes of men (whether God is esteemed in what the man has accomplished or not); but rather, what is esteemed of by God alone. Note the man above is suffering for a choice he made, he alone knows the truth, and yet he stands by his decision for what he believes to be obedience unto God.
As Christians in modern times, we think so highly of ourselves, when we ensure hardship of being criticized for our faults, for being mocked at for our failings or even judged for our past sins. Yes there is a battle and we depend on Christ and His Word to get over it; but friend what Glory is it? True suffering friend, God-honoring suffering and God pleasing suffering is not sought after, but is attained when a man despite being innocent bears patiently the affliction, the trial, the difficulty, the hardship – without retaliation vengeance and murmuring. Is this not the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, is this friend not the GREATER GLORY?