Suffering to Sin?

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

“Do not commit the crime for which you now serve the sentence”—Priest

In one of my favorite movies the Count of Monte Cristo the aged and dying cellmate and mentor Priest, of hero and protagonist Edmund Dantes played by Jim Cavaziel (Jesus in Passion of the Christ), says one of the most memorable lines in the movie.  If you’re not familiar with the story, Edmund was falsely accused of treason and spent 15 years in the infamous prison island of Chateau Daefe before he escaped.  During those 15 years Edmund was able to reinvent himself through Priest’s tutelage.  He learned how to read, write, studied economics, philosophy, politics, learned multiple languages and the art of combat.  Before Priest’s untimely death he gave Edmund instructions on how to locate and apprehend a vast amount of hidden treasure left by a very wealthy warlord.  Edmund had resolved to use the treasure once he found it to exact revenge on those who framed and betrayed him.  As Priest took his remaining breaths he proceeded to give Edmund his final lesson:  “Do not commit the crime for which you now serve the sentence.”

Priest’s words are true for Christians as well as for Edmund.  Christians suffer unjustly in a variety of ways.   Jesus too was falsely accused and was innocent in every sense of the word as he was without sin living a perfect life.  Because he served the sentence for our sin, by sinning ourselves we commit a sort of mockery and defamation of Christ’s person and finished work on the cross.  This is what the apostle Paul is referring to when he says in Romans, “shall we continue to sin so that grace may abound? God forbid.”

In addition, one of the challenges of the Christian life is resisting the temptation to sin while suffering.  It is very easy to feel justified in sinning when someone has hurt us or sinned against us.  There are times when we are unjustly persecuted and wronged and thus are excused to retaliate.  We must remember the LORD’s words on this matter:  “Vengeance is mine.  I will repay.”  This can be very challenging particular when in a situation where you have been consistently and constantly mistreated or sinned against whether purposely or inadvertently.  Jesus knows all too well what it feels like have to his trust betrayed, feelings hurt, and character attacked.  And in the final and most vicious act of betrayal and sin against him, he said from the cross in his last moments of life, “forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”

When people hurt us do we think “they don’t know what they are doing”?  Do we recognize that though people may hurt us and be very clear on why they are hurting us, can we also see that they are blind or short-sighted in their thinking as well as in the conclusions they come to.  How would that understanding affect how we respond to suffering, particularly the kind that comes via betrayal and broken trust?