It has been said so often it is a bit of a cliché; ‘you get out of life as much as you put into it,’ or, said another way, ‘you get what you deserve.’
So, if life works that way, by definition Stephen, the first Christian martyr, deserved to cop a stoning to death. Paul deserved to die by sword.
So did John the Baptist deserve a head trim?
Did Peter deserve martyrdom?
And what about the slaughtered children – under two years of age – in an effort to get rid of the infant Jesus?
Did Jesus deserve crucifixion?
Don’t let the cliché fool you. It may well be true some of the time but it is dangerous if you believe it to be an inviolable law of life.
I am told there were more Christian martyrs in the twentieth century than in any previous century. Christians, with the good news of salvation by grace, with the attitude of ‘doing unto others’ and ‘going the second mile’ have been tortured, hunted, shot and crucified probably more than any other group on earth. If the cliché is true, they got what they deserved.
Even at our ordinary level of friends and family, I am sure you know people who have been giving and loving and caring, and have been vilified by the world. Many innocents have been pronounced ‘guilty’ by the world, and have suffered imprisonment and even the death penalty.
Three of the gospels say Christians will be hated because of their allegiance to Christ, – Matthew, Mark and Luke, – then Luke says you are blessed when you are hated because of Jesus. John says the world hated Jesus without reason and if it hates you, it hated Him first.
And First John 3:13 says don’t be surprised!
But God doesn’t operate according to the cliché. He doesn’t give us what we deserve, for we deserve nothing less than total annihilation. Instead we are offered glory and eternity. I think I’ll stick with that offer and ignore the cliché.
Thank you, Father, that you are truly above any cliché.