Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:18-23
I read this verse today just after finding out about something at work that is completely unfair. It seems to me as if I’m being taken advantage of and am struggling with how to respond. I know that my current job is where God has called me to be in this season, but there are days like today when I just struggle with that current placement for my life. So, I guess the question is “how do I respond?” Do I look at the injustice and demand my rights? Do I stand up for what is “fair”? Sometimes the answer to that might be yes. I’m sure there are times when we need to stand up for something and fight against “the man.” But God has made it clear to me that my response in this situation should be like that of Jesus in 1st Peter 2. I am being treated unfairly. God knows that. I want to cry because it honestly just hurts. Jesus understands that pain.
When He was treated unfairly, he did not respond in sin. He trusted God. In the middle of his suffering, he did not utter threats or retaliation. He was quiet in the middle of that storm because He was at peace with God’s purpose and plan for his life. According to Phil. 2, I am commanded to let the mind of Christ dwell in me. I am supposed to follow that example. I am supposed to trust God in the middle of storms too. I have a coffee mug that says: “peace: it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
I think that’s the heart of this matter for me. Am I calm in my heart? Am I trusting that God knows the unfair actions? Am I trusting my own ability to vindicate that or am I trusting my sovereign God?
Its funny, I wrote a devotional post about that this morning…. about thanking God in ALL things because every situation reveals another opportunity for us to see God at work. So, where is God at work in this injustice?
He is at work in me… in teaching me humility (aka I don’t have to demand my rights). He is empowering me to respond like Him and He is growing my faith in His plan for my life. Does that feel good right now? No. But all I need to do is look back at the events of my life. Every step, every valley, every storm shows the imprint of a faithful God’s hand upon my life. So, I will trust Him in this too. He is good.
- “Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers, for they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday” (Ps. 37:1-6).
- “But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord: He is their strength in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him” (Ps. 37:39-40).
- “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
- “Wait for the Lord, and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land” (v. 34).
- “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things”