Continuing with Pastor David Niednagel’s study in 1 Peter. David uses the S.O.A.P. method of study for his morning devotional time. (study, observe, apply, pray)
It is a gracious thing
1 Peter 2:18-23
2:18 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. ESV
The previous paragraph spoke about submission to government. This one is to masters/employers. It assumes that those masters sometimes take unfair advantage of their position of power and abuse their servants. People in power do that. “Privilege” has always been real because people are sinful.
When Jesus came to this earth He humbled Himself and experienced the same kind of injustice that poor and powerless people do, and He left us an example of how to handle it. Today, we in America have more laws and procedures to protect us than people did in His day so His example is especially valuable. “When He was reviled, He did not revile in return, He did not make threats. Instead He entrusted Himself to His Father – who judges justly.” He knew that God will deal appropriately with all sin and injustice. That did not make the injustice less evil, but it demonstrated that God can be trusted. Paul, who also was abused many times, reminded himself and his readers to “17 Repay no one evil for evil… 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom 12:17-21) In the next paragraph Paul said it was the role of government to provide justice for the oppressed, and of course governments have most often failed to do that.
Peter’s words are so important – Jesus entrusted Himself to the Father. And He gave us an example to follow, but when we call ourselves “followers of Jesus” we normally don’t think about this part. “To this you are called “– to trust God when you suffer unjustly. Again, this in no way excuses oppression, but it brings peace to believers and honor to God. We can trust our God in the worst situation. It is interesting that in twice, in :19 and :20 Peter says “it is a gracious thing” to suffer unjustly and respond with trust in God. It takes grace from God, and we offer it back as a gift/grace to God.
Lord Jesus, thank You that You were willing to suffer injustice for us! And thank You for showing us how to do it. I thank You that I have endured very little injustice in my life, but I pray for great understanding and compassion on those who have. Help me be faithful to intercede and act to bring justice to them, but help me also truly trust You to in the way I respond to personal injustice. And help me teach others as best I can that Your grace is available in those times, and that suffering like You did for Your glory is one gift we can give back to You. Help us be like Your disciples after being beaten who “rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” (Acts 5:41) Amen