Thursday, August 11, 2011

How Should I Respond When Unjustly Treated

I was reading 1 Peter 2 and made a connection on how we live out our role as a church to proclaim His excellencies that has challenged my thinking.

1) In vs. 9 it says who we are In Christ: a chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation, a people for His own possession. I've written some thoughts on that before in these posts: All In Him Together 1, and Together But Separate 2, but today I was thinking more of how it ties into the rest of the passage...

2) What's the purpose of our role in Him? To Proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His excellent light. To show the mercy we've received (vs. 9-10)

3) But HOW do we proclaim His excellencies?
This is what has challenged me! First, Peter continues the theme of being pure and fighting against sin (11-12) that he set in Chapter 1 and early in Chapter 2. Then the rest of the passage (and really book) is about submitting in suffering. The servant is challenged to be subject in ALL respects to an unjust master. And it's in THIS relationship that he is called (21) and it's considered a gracious thing for him (19). This is so radically different from our culture. Do we ever consider this? Even in a small way, like under a boss who uses us for his/her own gain. Do we submit willingly under even that small persecution? Do we ever consider the next step of loving and praying for our enemies? Those who actually want us to suffer and die?

4) WHY submit under an unjust master? Because Jesus suffered unjustly for us. And doing good while suffering gives an opportunity to share how Jesus suffered willingly and took all our sin. Just like in Matthew 5:38- the end when Jesus calls us to willingly give the other cheek and go the extra mile. We have an opportunity to show the mercy we've received. We model Christ's good sacrifice once and for all for our sins when we fall under oppression with grace to show His love. 
It shows that we are:
-mindful of God (vs. 19)
-that we seek heavenly favor, not earthly reward (vs 20)
-that we trust God fully for vengeance/justice (vs. 23)
-and it's a picture of Christ, our Savior and example who willingly laid down His life for us (vs. 21)

Wow. I'm praying for our brothers and sisters worldwide who already live this hard call. I'm praying they will find comfort and strength in the promises in this passage. And I'm praying God will break open my proud heart and give me a true longing to love my enemies and pray for them. I'm praying I'll be so filled with Him and live so freely in the good news of salvation through Him, that I'll be equipped and ready when my suffering comes to live out mercy and grace by showing Jesus with JOY in suffering to those who need Him most: the oppressors.

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