Preparing for my sermon on Sunday, I came across this statement by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp:

We enter relationships for personal pleasure, self-actualization, and fun. We want low personal cost and high self-defined returns. But God wants high personal cost and high God-defined returns. And although we frequently disagree with God, his plan is better, Beneath all our conflict with others lies a deeper conflict between these two agendas: ours and Gods.

Sometimes the high personal cost of relationships will include persecution and suffering and heartache.  And with that suffering, when we respond with humble grace, we have unparalleled opportunities to demonstrate not only our grace, but God’s grace.  And that’s what makes Jesus statement true (though we have a hard time believing it):

Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Mt. 5:11-12; NASB)