August 20, 2019

Two Types of Suffering

Written by Shana Schutte

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 20, 2019

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:17

Have you ever noticed that in general, people can easily point out the faults of others, but have trouble recognizing their own? We can clearly see why someone has messed up their marriage, why they were fired from their last two jobs, or why they struggle to maintain long-term friendships. 

But when it comes to our own troubles, we often can’t identify our own sinful attitudes or actions that cause difficulty in our lives. 

We may not understand why we regularly experience conflict with those closest to us, why our work relationships are often strained, why we have repeated financial trouble, or why our mate never seems to be happy with us. 

Granted, there are times we suffer because of what someone has done to us and it’s not our fault, or because we are being persecuted. But there are other times we suffer because of our own sin. 

This can be so difficult to face, right? It takes courage, and a strong sense that we are loved by a God who redeems all things—even when it means we have messed up. 

1 Peter 3:17 reveals two opposite reasons why people suffer: for doing God’s will, and for not doing God’s will. In the first scenario, we aren’t at fault, and in the second, we are. 

When we suffer due to our own sin, the sad news is that we may try to convince ourselves that we are innocent, when in reality, we are suffering from a natural consequence of an attitude, action, or a sinful heart condition. 

(Please hear me, I am not saying God is waiting to punish us when we sin. I am acknowledging that we can suffer natural consequences from our attitudes and actions.)

When this happens, if we don’t humble ourselves and realize we’re the problem, we may blame shift, “They just don’t understand me!” “It’s the parent’s fault!” “It’s my boss’s fault!” or we may make excuses saying that we couldn’t help it. The problem is, when we fail to take responsibility for what we have done wrong, we can’t grow. We can’t become more of the person God wants us to be.  

If we are suffering and we want to know if it’s due to a sinful attitude, action, or heart condition, we can do three things: 

  1. First, we can humble ourselves. Humility will soften our hearts so we can receive loving correction, if needed, so we can grow into the person God wants us to be.

  2. Next, we can ask the Lord to reveal our sins and heart condition to us. If he places a loving finger on a sin, action, or attitude, confess it, then do what you need to do to change and ask Him to empower you to change.

  3. Lastly, we can ask others we trust for their honest input by inquiring if they see anything in us that needs to change. 

(Please note that for this 3rd step, you only want to inquire of people you trust, who love you, will seek God on your behalf, and have your best interest in mind.)

Taking a look at our own junk is never easy. It takes great humility and courage. But it’s an important action every believer can take to experience liberation in their life, faith, and relationships. 

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).


Lord, thank you that I never have to fear confessing my sins or taking an honest look at how I have fallen short. Humility and honesty will serve me well to sanctify me so I become more and more like you. Amen.


Ask the Lord to reveal your sin to you, then ask for forgiveness and receive His love, and if needed, seek an honest perspective from a trustworthy counselor.

Related Reading

1 Timothy 6:12; Romans 3:23-24; James 4:8

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When we take responsibility for what we have done wrong, we have the opportunity to learn and grow. #WisdomHunters

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  1. Sheryl says:

    Thank you for today message it truly blessed my soul.

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