Enduring Unjust Treatment - 1 Peter 2:18-25

Enduring Unjust Treatment

Growing up, I was punished innumerable times for doing something wrong. I may, or may not have, learned my lesson after being corrected. But, what happens when we are put down and persecuted again for doing good?  What about the kid who steps in front of the bigger kid to prevent his friend from getting beat up, all while taking the beating and not retalilating?

1 Peter 2:18-25 (ESV)
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
In the time that Peter was writing, the servants or slaves were the lowest of the low. They were treated harshly by their masters at times. Despite their unjust treatment, Peter encourages these Christians to respect their masters, because this is what God wants for us. To obey our masters. Today, this can be translated to any superior over us, and it is God’s will for us to be obedient…even to the harsh leaders above us.

When we are punished for our wrongdoings, we typically take it in stride because we know we did wrong. But Peter tells us that it is greater in the sight of God when we suffer for doing good, doing the will of God. Even more, the word ‘endure’ means to take the beating and not retaliate against them. Why is this important? Because Christ did this for us. He was completely free of sin. He didn’t need to, but He suffered for the sins of the world. Beaten, skin ripped apart, hands and nails pierced, suffocating, and pierced…because of Christ’s unwavering love for us. Christ set the ultimate example for us. For most of us, it will never come down to suffering as He did until death. But, there are plenty of Christians out there today who do. Therefore, we are called to stand firm in our belief in Jesus’ resurrection. Stand in the face of persecution, knowing that it is God’s will for us to live with him for eternity. Additionally, we are to endure the persecution and not retaliate.

Furthermore, Peter is telling us that as Christians, we are to expect unjust treatment from the world. The more righteous we live, the more we will be singled out by this fallen world. Because Jesus died and bore all the sins of the world, and He did not retaliate. It is through His suffering and wounds that we are healed, healed from the sin and death of this world. Our debt for sin was paid by Jesus. Jesus completely entrusted Himself to God…the one true judge who judges justly. Jesus was the example, and we are to entrust ourselves to the loving care of God’s hands, no matter how hard the situation.

Lastly, Peter equates us to being sheep…lost, stray, animals that are wandering aimlessly. Now, we no longer have to wander because our God provided us with a Shepherd, Jesus. Jesus is the one to guide us, protect us, and keep us in the presence of God. He is the Overseer of our souls.

As Christians, we are going to be persecuted because of the name of Jesus. The world we live in today is trying to shut Jesus out of everything, and the easy target is Christians. Don’t let this discourage you, because Jesus suffered much worse and was sinless. We are encouraged to stand firm and follow in the footsteps of Christ. To endure the suffering for Jesus, because the heavenly reward of living in His presence for eternity is so much more. God calls us to be humble, kind, patient, and compassionate.

So, I encourage you to remember these things. Think before acting. Endure the hardships because it is God’s will for us and he will build us up and provide us the strength to get through.
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