If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. (1 Peter 4:15)
Jay Bakker, the son of disgraced televangelists Jim and Tammy Bakker, often took a back seat to his parents’ thriving ministry and theme park. In response, Jay plunged into a life of alcohol and rebellion. In his autobiography, he recounts how the Lord brought him back from the brink.
Under the pressure of needing to raise half a million dollars a day, Jay’s parents began to compromise. In 1987, it was discovered that Jim had had an affair with his secretary, Jessica Hahn. Then he was convicted of fraud and sentenced to forty-five years in prison. Jay was only thirteen at the time. Eventually, because of his son’s advocacy behind the scenes, Jim’s sentence was reduced, and he was released after six years in prison. Through all of this, Jay eventually found freedom in Christ. “It was the realization that God loved me . . . that just set me free for some reason.”
A church leader suffered, not because he was so fully identified with Christ but because he compromised his integrity. Peter reminds us that, although our suffering is inevitable, we shouldn’t be bringing it upon ourselves or upon our families through irresponsible behavior.
We frequently hear of people in the church saying hateful things, then claiming persecution when there’s backlash. Let’s not suffer for the wrong reasons.
Don’t provoke persecution through irresponsible behavior.
D. Schmidt’s previously published devotionals have been drawn from the archives and reprinted for this publication.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.