Fairness means getting what we deserve. It often doesn’t happen. When we’re treated unfairly, do we try to hurt those who’ve injured us? Do we verbally tear them limb from limb? Unjust suffering is part of life. Jesus wants us to handle it exactly as He did.
God’s approval is more important than fair treatment. God uses unjust treatment to make us more like Jesus. Enduring it patiently shows the difference He’s made in our lives. He uses it to get unbelievers’ attention.
In the first century, many Christians were house servants. They sold themselves into temporary slavery to get ahead. It was somewhat like enlisting in the military today. Like military sergeants, sometimes their masters were cruel. The house servant’s duty was to submit, even if the master was harsh (1 Peter 2:18-20).
We submit because we fear God. Ultimately, God, not our employer, is in control. He orders our circumstances. Graciously bearing unjust treatment wins His approval. We need His grace to do it.
I’ve struggled with graciously bearing unjust treatment. I’m guessing you have too. About 1968, when I worked at a gas station on the Pennsylvania turnpike, I washed a guy’s windshield. It was plastered with a legion of dead bugs. It took several minutes to remove them. The driver commented that I was the slowest guy he’d ever seen. I didn’t take it patiently!
We’re tempted to think life today is different. It isn’t. God’s will is submission to our employer despite unfair treatment. The motive is consciousness of God (verse 19). God calls us to be submissive, cooperative, and uncomplaining despite unfair treatment. We do it because our commitment to do His will overrides our desire to strike back.
Jesus bore unjust treatment patiently. We’re to imitate Him. He submitted to the cross, the greatest injustice ever. He never said or did anything wrong. He didn’t deserve to suffer. He could have defended Himself but didn’t. He totally controlled His tongue. Like Jesus, we must let God deal with those who treat us unjustly.
Peter moves from Christ our example to Christ our redeemer. Jesus bore the penalty of our sins as our representative. He did it so we’d turn from living for ourselves to devoting ourselves to righteousness.
Verse 25 describes how as strays we found our way. We turned around and turned toward Jesus. He constantly provides for, supervises, inspects, watches over, and protects us. God uses unjust treatment to make us more like Jesus. He allows it so the world can see Him in us. It’s part of His grinding to produce an edge that makes us useful tools for Him.
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