Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17
In this verse, we read, if we share in His sufferings, we may also share in His glory.
One thing is guaranteed. There is suffering in this world.
I read an article recently about an Amish family in New York. Their two girls were abducted from their home. When the kidnappers were found, and details of the kidnapping were revealed, this Amish Father said that he felt sorry for the kidnappers. He said that the man and woman must have ruined their whole lives by what they did.
It is very difficult to forgive others who have done terrible things. Jesus forgave the Romans who tortured Him, and nailed Him to a cross. Stephen forgave the people who stoned him with his dying breath.
I think of the words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
When Christians suffer at the hands of evil, our mortal bodies want to cry out for revenge. What makes us want to forgive is that we know how much we’ve been forgiven. We also know that God’s Word encourages us to love our enemies, and pray for them who spitefully use us. God tells us to leave room for His wrath. God makes the sun shine on both the righteous and the wicked, and we are called to be like Him.
We would be no different than the world if we returned hate for hate, evil for evil, or an eye for an eye.
We are told to turn the other cheek, and when someone wants our hat, give them our coat, too. If we are told to carry someone’s load for a mile, go with them two miles.
We are called to be like Christ, and to be different than the world.
We CANNOT do this on our own. The Holy Spirit has to give us the fruit of the Spirit. In Galatians, we are told that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
In contrast, the work of the flesh is adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, sedition, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like. Those that do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Then in Galatians 6:8,9, we find these words, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
People who hurt children should be very afraid of God’s wrath, if they can’t find forgiveness from Him, through Jesus. The Bible tells us that it would be worse for them than if they had a heavy weight attached to them, and they would be dropped into the sea. There is forgiveness and mercy through salvation, but if they continue in their sin, they are in “deep” trouble!
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
That is why the Amish father felt sorry for the couple that kidnapped, and mistreated his daughters. He knew that they were reaping what they sowed. Maybe in prison, they will find salvation?
For the little girls, I pray they would find restoration, and that the love of God would wash away every act of evil against them. I pray that they will not reap the guilt and shame of what these people did to them. May they only feel the precious love of Jesus, and know His presence within them. May the Lord bless them, heal them, and restore their innocence and youth. I pray that they would share in Christ’s glory!