1Peter 2:20-25 “For what credit is it if, when you sin you 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. 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. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. 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. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep but now have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
How easy it is to lash out when we are treated unfairly. How easy it is to stand up for injustice and take matters into our own hands and be judge and jury. It’s natural to want to retaliate or defend ourselves when we feel we are being unfairly treated and dealt with, not to mention for other people as well. For this reason I found this passage in 1 Peter very challenging.
We seem to spend much time condemning people for injustice and sticking up for people’s rights. Don’t get me wrong we are to look out for those who are in need, but is it our role to take matters into our own hands all the time? The greatest injustice in all history was the persecution and execution of Jesus Christ. He was innocent, yet He was dealt with like an animal, like someone who is worth nothing. What did he do… He remained silent and trusted in His Father to see Him through it. He could have called an army of angels to His aid, but He chose to endure the persecution, trusting in His Father’s plans for Him and us (Matt 26:52-54). His focus was on the Scriptures being fulfilled. What if Jesus was saved by the people around Him, preventing Him from being put to death? At the time it would be seen as the just and right thing to do, however in reality it would be condemning the whole of humanity to an eternity without God!! How tragically ironic!!
We should not be so quick to deal out judgment and take matters into our own hands, but rather trust in God’s just and righteous plans. It takes great faith and self-control, especially when a huge injustice has been committed. Even though stopping the injustice, or judging others for it, may seem like the right thing to do, we have no idea what God’s larger, grander plan is. It may be through that injustice that He leads people into a saving relationship with Him. What an injustice to get in the way of that!
Does that mean we stand by and let persecution just happen to people… of course not! We must get along side the persecuted to help and strengthen them. We must reveal the hope Christ has given to us to those in need as well as practically helping them through their hardship. However we mustn’t be so quick to jump to conclusions in thinking we know what is best for them and go in guns blazing. We need to be discerning, trusting that God knows what’s best and that He will reveal to us how to support those in need more effectively and fruitfully.