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  • June 1, 2019
    9:00 AM

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Do Christians suffer less than unbelievers out there or do they suffer more find out more on this episode of inverse. Coming to you from Silver Spring Maryland welcome to N.P.R.'s Bible based conversation on life principles contemporary and thought provoking. Now here's your host just intend within that. There are some questions that Christians often have to wrestle with who believe as have more and more benefits believing in God or are there more more and more suffering and more more and more just more burdens as believers this is the question we're going to raise on this episode inversely so we're so glad you decided to join us we have order prayer we'll get right into scripture so Israel can you pray for us Father in heaven thank you that in the Bible we find the truth about reality as we live it and we pray Father that today as we so as we study this topic of suffering and loss that you'd be with us in Jesus' name and that's the best we're going to flip in chapter 3 verse 8 and we're looking at this entire season on the council the families and the families are often the environment and platform for suffering and for loss and a lot of these things what is a good verse we can start with in chapter 3 so we start in verse verse 7 and 70 OK. But what things were gain to me these I have counted loss for crunched yet indeed I also counted all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish that I may gain Christ Kelly what's going on there I know I know immediate context seems a bit weird plus the yes I think I go away as a kind of breakdown the ending part of Verse 8 talks about you know all these things last excellence for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish Oh these good things that he listed previously I count the loss that this is the purpose that I may gain Christ and this idea that all these good things that he accomplished or accomplished in him he doesn't count them as good anymore because he instead exchanges them for the knowledge in this closeness with Jesus Christ that's more important when you when you start reading the 1st part of Chapter 3 Paul's going to give us kind of an insight into what his family background is what is better and he's talking about the fact that he's a Jew that he's like the Jew of the dream reach you that he's like the best of the best of the best of the Jews and so he's actually you know we're getting a picture into his genealogy into who he is as an individual and sometimes you know you have this element of the family dynamic of where you come from and this defines you this is certainly what has defined Paul and Paul said that all these definitions that or that are attributed to me because of the family I come from are the things that I've done when you come face to face with who Jesus is. It's not all not only is it nothing not only is it 0 but it's actually negative you know and so I think that's what what it's and I think I think it's so profound what Paul is is presenting to us is the idea that by contrast the cherished value in preciousness of Jesus and knowing him as a person puts every single thing that we could possibly lose in its proper valuable place so it's like Yes Normally you remove Jesus from the equation and meant losing my health and losing my life and losing my family is devastating but for the person who knows Jesus this is such a prized possession that I'm actually already considered these things as a loss just so I could gain Jesus and as long as I have Jesus me suffering the loss of these things in my desire to serve and to submit my life to Christ helps me to understand yes it hurts but it doesn't hurt as much because I have this precious thing and that through this precious thing I can actually regain anything that I've lost so many asked the question I asked in the open or do Christians suffer more or through believe or suffer less. I think the answer is yes yes. I think you know there's aspects of the Christian life that you suffer more right because you're on the outside of the devil devil hates you therefore the devil will do and I think are you your target so there's persecution there's health loss of trust loss all these other kinds of loss but you gain Christ and so then say OK well someone who's on the same side as the devil they don't suffer they do because they don't have Jesus so I think sometimes the suffering looks the same but it's experience differently and sometimes it looks completely different because it's suffering as you know you're the target of the devil but you can find you can find purpose and you can find love and security in Christ versus the devil is not directly attacking you but all of the joy and all of the completion and beauty of life is sapped because you're not connected to God So it's still suffering and I would even add to that you know that Christians and non Christians are believers and nonbelievers pretty much suffer equally I mean you could find a Christian family that has not been touched by cancer or a disease and you can find one that has and you can find the same thing among non-believing families as well and I think that suffering doesn't have favorites right I think the difference is for a Christian the one suffering does come to me I know that it's because God has allowed it because I'm in Christ which gives it a completely different meaning right like Romans 828 that you know all things work together for good to them that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose so because I love God and because I know Jesus these things that come to me are the right problems right because God is only going to allow them for the purpose of our relationship to grow for the purpose of my blessing for the purpose of removing the hindrance or sin in my life verses for the unbeliever their suffering is just at the mercy of the circumstance it's not necessarily redemptive it's not necessarily going to help you develop you know something it could just be devastation it may be in the judge me. The whole world and all the information is just that ordered it revealed there will actually be able to quantify who has suffered much but I think one thing that I'm extrapolating from your 2 comments is that one thing for sure is because you believe in God does and does not mean that all suffering is a limited there are suffering as a Christian I would not I would say that I would say that a Christian suffers more and the reason why I would say that is because a Christian by taking upon the title of a Christian you're essentially calling upon yourself. To be tested you need to test that that identity that you have right you need you to test that profession if I say I'm a Christian I have to test that and so the issue is that love has risk riches upon it and that's just the bottom line so if you really have the love of Christ or if you have love for someone actually that love brings with it restrictions and if you consider these restrictions suffering then it brings more suffering for example if I were to if I were to give people. Things that I have to do because I'm married to my spouse. People with things like I would never want to be married him right you know I have to get up and I have to do certain things because my wife likes me to do that but I have the garbage every Thursday morning because Monday. Night is a story and so you know it's not. Just taking out the trash but I'm talking about I don't talk about dressing a certain way talking about like oh I have to you know get a haircut I have to shave I have to all these different things when you're just it's hard being me so now if if we were if we were to talk about the different things that I have to do to please my wife then someone that has an experience love or someone that doesn't love my wife would see that as suffering you know it would see that as they would see that as a restriction and so loved by nature has restrictions you know and so it's the same thing with Christ crisis bound because of love he's bound in that he cannot do certain things that Satan or the devil would do he is restricted and so therefore yes to suffer and so I think that the Christian who takes upon the name of Christ and genuinely loves the way the crisis called us to love is going to suffer more than anyone else because they're being there that call is being tested what did you wouldn't you say that is like a perspective issue right because I feel like your point almost makes me. Think of it in a different light which is the fact that what you're doing for your wife is not suffering but I perceive it as suffering so for you you're not saying why do these things for my wife and you know whole home I'm suffering more because I love my wife but on the outside I'm saying like men that's suffering what I think is that I think in both I think it's both because there are some things that you don't want to do. As far as your feelings go but you still do anyway because of the principle of love now and then I think when you take that even a step further to our relationship with Christ it's genuine suffering you know you're going through when you're testing the call of Christianity. You're genuinely suffering Well this is this is a philosophical argument I don't know they don't like. It maybe at the judgment will be able to quantify you to be able to say that but there are different perspectives different X. essential forms of suffering are there so let me get to the point of my question OK That's OK it is or not here to debate who's suffering more but the point is there's many people who are suffering and how do we deal with that so that's my question although I get far less of which side on the right who suffers more I'm going back to original verse I think whatever you know whatever camp you're and dispassion camp or the camp is how much you thank you very much for always providing life here for you you know me as you know anyway so of which one suffers more it's irrelevant the sense of even if Christians do suffer more even if they suffer a 1000 times more it's always worth it so it never alway's like magic as you cheated me it's as that's a super cool point regardless of them out it's worth it yeah I mean it like that all you have to suffer like one Corinthians 417 for our light affliction which is but for a moment like that why would you say light affliction I'm often allowed to function but he's going to satellite affliction but that's where you can call it like man when I see all the things that God has done is doing and will do like this in the light of links in this is not that bad because God is with us in that he's with us through it and he with me be with us after it lets you look at a couple forms of loss and it's not actually a loss component but it's the pain associated with the loss. And you know as young adults sometimes we feel are going to live forever and then the 1st encounter we have with some kind of loss of health it's actually a shock for people in their twenty's or thirty's you know what like I I have this or that I mean I remember the 1st time where I had major speech or surgery done I went skiing and I tore my A.C.L. and I thought I could. From here to California back every single day I think you just feel invincible right Leake Misses of the body are not even considered at 1st I couldn't put my socks on you know and I'm just I mean there's some really stupid but the in the ability for my body to perform How I Want It was a very humbling realization for me in my twenty's Yeah and I think I think you're hitting on the idea that sometimes what loss reveals to us you know as we revisit it in a previous episode about identity right in who we are and who we are in Christ is really what it can every last is bringing this back to you because when you lost that ability it's kind of like men I was defined by my billet to run across you know the back or ski in this way and now I can't even put my socks on and this right who am I like what does that say about me now who who does that make me because we define ourselves by these things but when we suffer a loss it's kind of bring me back to say will not I don't have that but I'm still alive and I still have purpose I still have meaning right because of my relationship with Christ so how do we what do we say to people who loss of health or of that temptation to be despondent because of the suffering they're experiencing I think the 1st aspect even beyond before that is sometimes we try to go into situations and overly prescribe and overly give advice and sometimes people just need to be heard and loved and given compassion and and the for the relationship I'm just sure it's a that's still Yeah and to affirm just like Jesus did like someone's loss of health is not a loss of love on Jesus part because we really do connect that a lot of times when there's a loss of anything so one is affirming with the Bible does and does not say you know about that amen to that I mean there's the male instance you just go and. There is the pathetic and Catholic that empathetic empathic form where I remember once I'm a I had my leg it was it was broken or whatever and so I just stand up just just get over. And fix it and I'm thinking like I hope I want to break your leg right you know you don't know about us that would be why I'm so angry right now we need to take a break we'll see you after. After this commercial break. Has impressed been a blessing to you Do you have questions comments or feedback you'd like to leave us find us on social media by searching. On Facebook Twitter Instagram for you to while there join us like us comes up next a handle again is in 1st Bible states and now back to the discussion. Hey welcome back friends of people with better now. I guess the point I wanted to mention the was that when in the midst of my surgery and recovery it was I was trawling upon flip instructor too and I saw the condescension of Christ and he became a human being took our likeness of sinful flesh the weakness of human body and he used that weakness as his strength. I mean she used his humanity as a way to get to people's heart he me he used he used it I mean he could of it was it's just amazing thought that humanity was a benefit to his divinity Yeah well let me just finish and so it was like I'm going here I don't tell them that are you and I want to do was it was as I my church that where I was going up the steps and I couldn't go up the steps it was just and it is you know can you imagine just it was it Wow And you know there's a very existential moment for me that's OK and it wasn't until that I sat with some some of my church members who are elderly and eyes and they all said knee problems and mobility problems and accessibility problems they started seeing the world through their eyes so I saw ramps stairs differently I saw ice differently I saw the work of deacons Hooper breaking the ice on a different level for me this was before just things that church had to do but now this is an open world and I sat down with him and I had access to their world because there was there was an end path fake link between now was like man this this is awesome inside I was I love this disability it has allowed me to open areas of my identity that I never did for service sake yes and it was a huge blessing a large picture of Sebastian and that's what I was going to go even with that you know I remember the story just my spiritual mother's. Westbridge above their head I mean it was shared that she was going through a medical emergency and was going through these different treatments for persistent conditions she had and while they're in there her and other women who were going through this treatment you know they're kind of crying and calling family members and they don't know the outcomes and she was thinking to herself like you know I don't you know you're in the what was ME LIKE I CAN be going through this and all of the sudden you know it struck her that you know these women may or may not know God But the reality is that I'm here right now in all. Christian so she she grabbed one of the women in the waiting room and she said hey I don't know if you're a believer but I do believe in prayer and I would love to pray with you know miss it I'll be great and so these 2 weeks of going through this treatment eventually all the women coming for the treatment would have prayer for every single person before their treatments and it was the 1st time in this particular treatment center that everybody left in a positive like the treatments were completely positive they went back with minimal effects and she was telling me you know Sebastian that. This taught me that many times what we've us lost or a situation that is a hindrance was God actually pushing us into some sort of service that we would never choose right that you don't you choose who you serve but not where you serve so Jesus let you go to that clinic for that treatment or go through a broken leg experience God wants to use you in that whole context and what we've talked about so far is is actually lost that is converted to gain but what Paul is talking about is again that is converted to loss you know he's saying all these things which were gain to me I counted them last and so there is here a deliberate effort on Paul's and not just to make the best out of suffering but to embrace suffering for what it's supposed to do and series says what what is the purpose of suffering why is suffering so effective and so important that I actually turn again into loss instead of just turning a loss into again and he says here that what it does after Mrs yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ and so he's not talking about for for Christ's sake because he's he's receiving Christ but he's talking about the knowledge of Christ the excellence of the knowledge of Christ that word excellence a kind of reminds me of 1st Corinthians 131213 where it talks about how love is the more excellent way or the more excellent gift and I think that what Paul is speaking of here is it is through loss that we actually find a deeper and a more intimate understanding of the love of God and that's what that's what loss is supposed to do for us that it's supposed to teach us yes our vulnerability or weakness or or whatever but more than anything else is supposed to teachers about the love of God and how God loves us even when it seems that he doesn't love us or when things in the. Around us are in the are an indication that God has turned against us how even in those moments of suffering actually the opposite is true that that is when his love shines most beautifully and I think that's why Paul's embracing the loss because he knows and he understands that without loss there is a component of the character of Christ that is not revealed that it's only revealed in loss and so he's embracing loss he's actually choosing loss instead of gain. Let's switch gears to a loss of trust there are different bible stories where we see that Joseph was betrayed by his brother's more we see siblings who have you know you know crazy stories I mean you see some of the most. Horrific families in the Bible and siblings doing all sorts of things to each other and sexual violations in and and all that stuff trauma. What do you what can we say as Christians from there about loss of trust not from people you don't know nothing strangers this is internal within your own family especially when I think in James Chapter 5 Verse 16 it's one of the same shift of 5 or $6.00 to $1.00 of the verses that I. I love to use in this context when we're dealing with the loss of trust and it says you know talking to the the general letter that James is writing he says confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed in the affective fervent prayer of a righteous man of feels much and I love this because number one it tells you to own into recognize in these contexts where there is a loss of trust. Number one that trust is being begun to be regained when the person owns the fact that I did be tree like with Joseph in Judah eventually Judah own the fact that he made a mistake and he even changed and went to bat for his younger brother Benjamin you know and recognize like this is what he did to his father decides what he did to his brother and so James says what you need to confess to one another these trespasses issues but then you also need to pray for one another and I think a lot of times when family has disappointed us and I've definitely had family members that you feel have betrayed you were so focused on either vengeance or just getting it corrected or like you need to make it right or maybe it just cannot be right at the time is past where you neglected like you didn't come to my wedding or you know you never showed up or called me on my birthday or whatever to acknowledge and what I meant how could you forget like how could you not show up now you can't show up now it's over so at that point in time that recognition is look I need to pray for this person we don't know what's going on in that person's life as to what drove them to cause that breach of trust and. What James deals with is the fact that even though I'm imperfect and I also breached trust my prayers are effective I can pray and still be considered a righteous man in Christ and pray for this person is that they maybe he is real when you look at stories in the Bible love of the trailer of aura of people that have done horrific things you you know you talk about you talked about earlier their stories in the Bible of people that you know sexually abused their own family members and the result of that you look at all these horrific things in the Bible and even in there even in there in there are just debasing sin. What ultimately comes through the thread that is intrusion into all these stories is the fact that God always pursues the sinner and that's the that's the beautiful thing about Christ that even in the worst of circumstances he always finds a way to look at number one the victim who has suffered but also the person who has committed the crime and and so you know from the very beginning you look at Genesis Chapter 3 it is God who is in search of Adam and Eve who have broken their trust with God And so when we talk about or when the Bible talks about a loss of trust and how we respond to that it gives us the the challenging responsibility of going and searching after the person who has committed the worst of all crimes and finding a way to restore in them the image of God and to restore them into a loving relationship. I say alternately ultimately just maybe from a clinical perspective we need to establish that should anybody be in a very immediate dangerous situation you need to be excised from the circumstance immediate access because if we leave this one people yeah OK get out of there. Because I think as Christians sometimes there are some we're thinking hey I need to be here to be that one percent and we enable the use that which we see in the larger picture from that is that God is in the business of healing all parties involved you know we need to victim or the minds of the violator we need to see that salvation from the holistic perspective and only the reality that we can forgive people even if we don't trust them again because maybe they're not they haven't repented because you can forgive someone out then asking for forgiveness and we should we shouldn't hold grudges but we should also remember that doesn't mean to put ourselves. Back into a dangerous situation room and because that's just foolish. And I think that's hard to stomach you know for a lot of people because like you said you can be abused like oh you know you need to forgive me which means you need to accept me back in your life and restore that trust but I think you know it's very abundantly clear that you know when a person is forgiven for an action against you or even against God that doesn't necessarily mean you're going to regain 100 percent of the trust that you lost and I think that's the miracle of what God accomplishes for the sinner you know alternately but in life with humanity we have to sometimes protect the perpetrator from themselves but I have to remove myself. You know into on the fact that if I continue to enable you in your weakness I'm going to let you persistence in rather than removing myself and still there are consequences even if you're forgiven there are still consequences sometimes that you. Are serious or element there is the reality realm and sometimes they're not exactly the same in. The part of you know the outflow or the fall where they need to you know I was I was watching on television a few months ago just a horrible crime that happened here in the United States where a doctor abused gymnastic team of the national team of young girls and that happened near my hometown and as I was reading and watching what was taking place something came over me just this this and I didn't even know these these young ladies I know their families but you watched the interaction of what is taking place and the natural thing that sprung within me was hatred I thought to myself man of this guy ever came near my kids what I would do to him you start planning in your mind all these different things and and I was listening to the what was taking place and they eliminated it came to the point where in my mind I would eliminate hope from their life and what I'm talking about regaining the person or bringing that person back into a relationship with Christ as we storing in everyone this possibility of hope. Christian. To be Christians experience lost like anyone else but stocks that will last that the the factor it's the pain associated the loss and my take away from this discussion is that we we still have hope in Christ not just for ourselves for all parties involved and it is Christ that restores all things so for you out there have been blessed by this is this discussion and I have been it is not is the it's not a glib answer to solve any problem but the hope in Christ is the answer to our human condition thank you so much for joining us we'll see you next week here in inverse You've been listening to invest a Bible based conversation. Is wrong with Jonathan Walter Sebastian Braxton he could tackle your host Justin. In this is brought to you by the whole television that changes along with this and more inspiring episode is it in groups that. Are watching. This on social media. In the 1st 5 until next time this is N.P.R.'s.

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