...not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 1 Peter 2:18
Have you ever found yourself shaking with anger at injustice? I see it all the time, and so do you. I struggle with the reality that there are people who are so powerful that there is no way to hold them accountable.
We have seen the stories on television of innocent people who are convicted of crimes they did not commit. We sit scratching our heads wondering how there can be people who provide all the evidence of innocence on paper, who are obviously not guilty- how can they still be convicted? How can there be people so obviously guilty who get away with their crime in the face of obvious evidence?
How can there be no recourse to right a wrong? I know people whose lives have been ruined, careers ended, and reputations sullied, on the basis of what one person says. It is often the result of one person who is jealous of another and they do their best to ruin their reputation among their peers or on the job.
It is evil and wicked and horrible. With every single bone in your body all you want is revenge at any cost. Your mind thinks of a hundred ways you can get even with them, you want to lash out and start telling others bad things about that person who has hurt you, or the system that did not allow you to defend yourself. You think about anonymous ways to get even with them, some of them may not even be legal but at that moment you don’t really care because they have hurt you or someone you love and you have taken up that reproach and are determined to strike back and hard.
But that is not God’s way. We live in a world that is bound to injustice because it is dominated by sinful men and women. It has been this way since sin entered the world. Peter and the church of converted Jews knew a lot about injustice, they suffered under it daily. Peter said to Christian slaves who belonged to un-Christian masters these wise words:
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.
The Lord knew we would need encouragement as we see injustice in the world and He kindly provided us with this encouragement and instruction. Beyond that, He has given us a beautiful example in Christ to follow.
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 1 Peter 2:18-24
As hard as it is to swallow, the way of suffering is God’s way. These are some of the most difficult verses in the Bible for the Christian. It is a most difficult thing to be wronged and not fight back, to be falsely accused and just not retaliate.
Peter says that when we suffer in this way and patiently endure it this finds favor with God. I had to look up this phrase “patiently endure it” the crux of the phrase rests on the Greek word hupomeno which means stay under (behind), that is, remain; figuratively to undergo, that is, bear (trials), have fortitude, persevere:—abide, endure, (take) patient(-ly), suffer, tarry behind. (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries).
Now, maybe that was already clear to you, but it helped me understand what God is asking of us when things go this way. God wants us to stay the course in spite of how we feel about it. He wants us to humble ourselves and remain where He has placed us until He moves us.
Oh this is so very, very hard! Our flesh cries out for justice! We so badly want righteousness to prevail! We want to win! And there are times when God says, “No” and we are allowed to be harshly treated. Somehow, in a way that we may not understand, or even care about right now God is having His way with us. This experience is conforming us to Jesus Christ.
Continue to entrust yourself to the righteous judge. God is not mocked and God will avenge and vindicate you at some point in time. Always remember, God is aware of all of it, God has a plan within the situation, and God is sovereign and is not allowing anything to happen to you that He is not in control of.