Although none of us would call ourselves slaves, nevertheless, there are many things in life which can hold us captive and for which we work as if we were slaves. Our families can exert extraordinary power and influence over us. Our jobs are full of threats to our individual freedom whether directly, through tyrannical management, or indirectly, through oppressive and shifting office politics. We fear being cast out of our families or communities and we fear losing our jobs and livelihoods. Many, if not all of us, live as slaves of our own fear in one way or another. So we must therefore accept the things that hold us captive, be they family, work or the simply the views of wider community. We must humbly accept that the sufferings that these things impose on us, are no excuse for impatience, anger, retaliation or for giving up on one’s faith. In today’s passage, Peter reminds us that patient endurance in the face of harsh treatment actually pleases God. We are reminded of the example of Jesus himself, as he accepted his trial, humiliation and crucifixion. They key to this is to remember that it is not for us to judge what is fair and unfair. Our job is just to obey The Lord’s commands faithfully and gladly.
1 Peter 2:18-25 NLT
You who are slaves must accept the authority of 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 with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair 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.
I can really relate to the idea of being a sheep who wandered away from the flock but who turned at the call of the shepherd’s voice. I feel immensely privileged to have been called by the voice of Jesus who is truly the guardian of my soul. No matter how harshly others may want to judge me or treat me, I know my Lord knows what is in my heart. Therefore, it will be my goal to humbly accept the judgement of men, however harsh or unfair it may seem, because I have been given a wonderful promise of a greater reward in heaven than any worldly prize. Jesus is the guardian of my soul and therefore I live with the knowledge that no man can harm me in any meaningful way.
Ezekiel 47:1-48:35, 1 Peter 2:11-3:7, Psalms 119:49-64, Proverbs 28:12-13