Redeeming Suffering

For those in my circles, they are probably about tired of my latest references to podcasts. It’s much like hearing from someone who’s back from a conference or a vacation. It’s better for you if you experience it yourself.

Sorry for those people, but here’s yet another reference. I heard this quote from Donald Miller talking about what makes a good hero and villain in a story plot. “A hero redeems his suffering while a villain becomes bitter about suffering and seeks vengeance.” The word that grabbed me was “redeemed.” The concept of redeeming suffering is a new one to me.

But think about it. That’s pretty much what heroes do. They make their suffering useful. Batman redeemed his suffering of losing his parents. From other movies, William Wallace (Braveheart) and Maximus Meridius (Gladiator) both redeemed their suffering of losing their wives. One of the most familiar biblical and historical heroes is David. What did he redeem? He redeemed his people from their longtime enemies, the Philistines. These four men made a choice. They chose to redeem their suffering.

Redeem means to make something that is bad or unpleasant better or more acceptable, to buy back something. Suffering is often the result of something bad or unpleasant. Suffering certainly is attached to loss. 

We suffer in our workplace when business slows. We suffer in our families when our parents age. We suffer in our sense of security when bombs explode. We suffer because we live in a broken world. And in our suffering we have a choice. Make the unpleasant better or become bitter, making ourselves unpleasant. Redeem what was lost or cause more loss through our lack of redemption. Be a hero or be a villain.

Truth is, we all know what the right choice is. Truth is, being a villain is easier. Being heroic is hard. Ask Jesus. By the way, when you ask Him, stop to thank Him for your redemption that He gave you through His suffering.


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