You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.
1 Peter 2:18-25 NLT
Life Application Study Bible
We may suffer for many reasons. Some suffering is the direct result of our own sin, some happens because of our foolishness, and some is the result of living in a fallen world. Peter is writing about suffering that comes as a result of doing good. Christ never sinned, and yet he suffered so that we could be set free. When we follow Christ’s example and live for others, we too may suffer. Our goal should be to face suffering as he did-with patience, calmness, and confidence that God is in control of the future.
Life / Workplace Application
You cannot lead effectively long term if you regularly disrespect and undermine your leaders. You can effectively teach the tactics of dissent and overthrow — which may allow you to manipulate yourselves in an upward direction as you climb over the defeated — but you will eventually be undermined yourself by the very behaviors and attitudes you have sown into your “followers”.
Let’s read this not about the far off words “slaves and masters” from a long ago age — but about the very real and personal relationships we participate in each day with bosses/managers/ supervisors/leaders and subordinates:
submit to your [leaders] with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment.
And if you want to be an impact player long term, you will respect your leaders. I’m not talking about being a yes man and a brown noser while compromising your own integrity and values and following them into unjust and immoral and illegal activities — but I am talking about patiently enduring and continuing to do good, instead of grumbling, complaining, disrespecting or causing dissent.
Patiently enduring unjust treatment is never easy. But we must remember:
God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
We are called to DO GOOD, EVEN IF IT MEANS SUFFERING.
CHRIST IS OUR EXAMPLE.
That doesn’t mean that we are cowards or defeated or pacifists.
Yes, Jesus did once flip over tables and chase people with a whip. Yes, Jesus did speak out about injustice through parables that revealed the sin in themselves and in their leaders. But Jesus did teach his followers to openly resist and overthrow evil leaders, He provided the means to pay the taxes from ther mouth of a fish:
On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?” “Yes, he does,” Peter replied. Then he went into the house. But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered? ” “They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replied. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free! However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”
Matthew 17:24-27 NLT
This jumps out:
we don’t want to offend them
I’m immediately reminded of:
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord . Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Romans 12:9-21 NLT
There is always a narrow path, a best way to respond, that doesn’t “demand respect” from others and doesn’t retaliate. If you have truly “died to self” and seek only to “live for God” — then any pride and feelings of self worth that demand “I should be respected” or “I should be treated justly” are to be crushed, overthrown, trod under foot by our example, suffering servant, Christ beaten, convicted wrongly, and crucified mercilessly, yet still praying for them saying:
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:34a NLT
How can we do such a thing that is so different from our nature, so contrary to what our flesh and pride and ego cries out against and demands vengeance for our being “wronged”?
Who are you really crying out against?
Do you not know that God is sovereign and mighty and His will cannot be thwarted?
Do you not know that He foresaw your circumstances and that you are in this place right now for a reason and a purpose?
Will you grumble against Almighty God who has placed you in this moment and given you the opportunity to choose either to be like Christ in this moment or to show yourself again as a child of wrath instead of as a child of God?
Lord, help us. It is only by the poet of Christ in us that we can reach such humble standing at the foot of the cross. Help us today to be more like you. Amen.