Some of the earliest believers struggled with unjust suffering. For many the injustices they experienced were at the hand of their masters since much of the New Testament church was made up of slaves. They had bosses who could be cruel, capricious, and even vicious in their treatment. Slaves had no rights as human beings and were considered on the same social level as farm animals.
Some came to the faith expecting a message of freedom to rally around: a call to throw off the yoke of oppression and slavery. A call to assert their rights as human beings. A call to revolt against injustice. If that was the case, they went away disappointed.
In 1 Peter 2, we read that the position of early Christians was to suffer quietly when injustice came and to stop looking for a reward when their suffering was deserved. What does that say to us today?
Many live in circumstances where suffering is a frequent guest. Maybe you are feeling mistreated by an unfair boss. Maybe your manager at work treats you differently because you are a Christian and you are ostracized or passed over for promotion. Perhaps your platoon sergeant curses you or insults you because of your faith.
It is relevant today for us to hear again these ancient words that tell us, like Christ, to suffer silently; to not expect that we will be treated better than He; to not expect that walking with Jesus won’t cost us something. It always has and yet, “He had left us an example that we should follow in His steps.”
An old hymn asks the question, ” Should I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease?” Following Jesus is not always easy.
But it is always worth it.
“But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 2:20
FOR REFLECTION: Examine your attitude. Do you endure when you are mistreated for doing good? Is your attitude like that of Jesus who suffered for you?