1 Peter 2:18-25
18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 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. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 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. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
In this passage Peter talks to the suffering believers are living with, in particular, he is encouraging the slaves amoung the believers to stand firm in the unjust punishment or harsh treatment that they may be receiving from their masters. The blueprint Peter gives on how to act in unbearable circumstances is Jesus. Jesus was insulted and physically assaulted yet did not retaliate or threaten back but continued to serve. Earlier in the chapter Peter tells his readers that they are all chosen, royal, holy and special to God, to show respect to everyone & to live as free although slaves/servants to God.
Peter doesn’t condemn slavery or give an opinion. What he’s more concerned about is how those believers who find themselves in slavery are to act and portray Christ in their lives. I may not be a slave, literally owned by anyone, but I am in the same place as being a slave or servant to God. How I act either brings honour or dishonour to God before both believers and non-believers. Jesus is still our blueprint. Physical retaliation or having the last word can often be hard to control, but this is what Peter is asking us to do, to continue to serve others to the best of our ability, not just grudgingly but as Jesus did.
Lord thank you for your work in my life. Forgive me for all the times when I have retaliated and had to have the ‘last word’, for only grudgingly serving or bringing dishonour to you in my behaviour. Lord continue your transforming work in my life and make me more Christ like. Amen
Written by Suzie Hodgson