Today, we are going to continue looking at the fourth principle of nonviolence picking up with the statement, “Unearned suffering is redemptive and has tremendous educational and transforming possibilities.”
The Bible speaks of the benefits of suffering for righteousness’ sake in First Peter 3:13-14: “Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.”
Now, most of us do not like any kind of pain, suffering, or discomfort — and certainly not any kind of pain the comes about because we are actually doing the right thing. However, as we read through Scripture, we find the suffering is a normal part of life in a world affected by sin. And it will often seem unfair when people seemingly go through difficulties that they do not deserve or difficulties that come about because they were actually trying to do the right thing.
All suffering is not bad, however. Have you ever heard the phrase, “No pain, no gain”? Many good things have come about because people were willing to suffer through bad situations. Dr. King’s principle reminds us of this truth. Black people in America are where they are today because hundreds and thousands of others were willing to suffer, to be treated unfairly, and to die, if necessary, even though they were doing the right thing.