Is Suffering Required by God? Is it a sin to Escape it?

Here is a very good question one of our readers asked recently. Her question and her insights are very good and we hope will be very helpful to all of you:

I have been studying 1Peter, and listening to several sermons on submission. Submission to the government, and in marriage and in suffering.  My question and dilemma is that for so many years, almost 50, I thought the more I suffered, the more holy I was.  I thought that to suffer well was a good thing.  So I suffffffferred!  It was like a badge of honor.  Now that I have read your books and the books of others who understand abuse, I don’t agree with the concept of “morose” suffering.  So, where do we draw the line?

I responded to the question with this:

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The Other Way to Peace

2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 ESV  since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you,  (7)  and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels  (8)  in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  (9)  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,  (10)  when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

There is no peace when the wicked are present in our lives. Yes, we who know Christ experience peace with God, but when it comes to having peace in relationships with others, real peace is unattainable when it comes to dealing with evil people. All domestic abuse victims and survivors know this. Day by day, moment by moment, there is anything but peace. Even when those brief appearances of peace come, they are counterfeit. Set ups for the next attack.

Now, most professing Christians and churches tell us that we can have relational peace with anyone. But the burden for attaining it is on our back. WE must forgive. WE must effect reconciliation. WE must be humble. WE must…convert those people to Christ! And this is presented as the only path to peace with “difficult” people.

But there is another way, and the Bible is filled with its descriptions.

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Superficial Christianity Invites and Enables Evil

These paragraphs were taken from a church’s web page. Read them, and then I want us to think about how a “church” like this is fertile soil for the wicked, including abusers:

Our Core Beliefs: If you were to ask 10 different people at Our Savior’s Church their individual beliefs about heaven, sin, free will, or any other theological issue, you would probably get 10 unique answers! Nevertheless, there are certain core beliefs which we share that define who we are and who we understand God to be. A good way of explaining these core beliefs lies in the name of our national church body.

We believe in the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and understand forgiveness and faith as radical gifts from God that are given no matter who we are or what we do.

We are “church.” That is, every member is bound together in the Body of Christ, gifted by the Holy Spirit, and empowered to be a doer of the Gospel.

We life, work, and serve our American context knowing what we do here also impacts the world.

Now, think carefully about these words. Let me translate them for you:

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