Patiently Endure Wrong Treatment (1 Peter 2:18–25)
One of the most amazing aspects of Jesus Christ going to the cross in order to pay for our sins is that he did it willingly and without complaint. As the prophet Isaiah said about the Messiah Jesus, “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).
There are few things that demonstrate to the world the transformation Jesus Christ has done in believers more than their following his example of patiently enduring being wronged and treated unjustly. When Christians do that, people clearly see that there is something different about them.
Peter';s teaching in this passage is consistent with that of Jesus: “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'; But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also” (Matthew 5:38–39).
That is the more modern application of Peter';s encouragement to slaves of that time: “You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you — not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment” (1 Peter 2:18–19).
Today, slavery is seen as a dark part of the Western world';s past, but we know that there was a time when humans were allowed to own other humans and that those precious human souls who were held as slaves were sometimes subjected to abominable treatment. Apparently, the same thing was true in Peter';s day.
While none of us in our culture today are held as slaves, it is still possible that we may have to sometimes endure cruel mistreatment at the hands of people God has put in our lives. Sometimes that mistreatment is in the form of cruel words or actual wrongs committed. Either way, Peter tells us that as believers we are to “patiently endure unfair treatment.”
God doesn';t credit us for being punished for doing wrong, but if we patiently endure mistreatment when we are innocent of any wrong, then God is pleased with us. Why? Because in doing so, we follow Jesus';s example and reflect him to the world around us (2:20–21).
How do you respond when people speak wrongly about you or treat you in a way you think is unfair?
How do you think you are to respond when people don';t treat you fairly or justly?