This Sunday we’ll be digging into 1 Peter 2:18-23.
Have you ever been treated unfairly – treated badly for no good reason? At work, school or even at home? How did you feel about that? What was your first reaction, and how does it sync with Peter’s description of suffering unfairly? What correlation can we find between unjust suffering and God, or specifically, Jesus?
What Peter describes here is bitter medicine that can produce good results. What can result in your life from applying Peter’s instructions to your life? How would you sum up the message behind these verses?
Should prove to be a challenging but hope-filled passage. See you Sunday!
4 thoughts on “Good Medicine”
Being mistreated for being a Christian caused me to feel pain and confusion not only for myself but even more for the perpetrator. An ensuing examination of my faith and how I lived it out brought me only closer to Christ.
Every time this subject comes up I shy away from leaving a comment. It hits close to home and is hard to talk about without sounding like a ‘finger pointer’ towards a fellow brother/sister in Christ. Which I guess is almost impossible considering the fact that I feel like such a failure with this particular lesson. Make any sense? I didn’t think so.
As far as overtly being called out, criticized, left out, looked down upon, etc. for being a Christian… The things God has done for me over the years… he has truly earned in every way my trust, respect, love, adoration, loyalty, admiration, you name it, in the process of building an intimate relationship together. Any negative thing I have to put up with here in America ‘in his name’ is easy and feels like a badge of honor. (This comes with a qualifier. I have never been physically threatened or harmed. Also, other than being a social outcast in some parts of our society just because I am a Christian, our freedom in America has made my personal experience of being a Christian a cake walk. Especially compared to our persecuted brothers and sisters.) However, I’ve often wondered how I would hold up when truly tested as others are in hostile countries. In my imaginiation I stay strong, but… Peter said the same.
The part I struggle with is when the ‘suffering’ is not overtly in his name. In our lives Matt and I follow the path that God lays before us. We never know what or where that will bring us. There are seasons of ease and joy and comfort. There are also seasons that are difficult and are truly a growing process in every way. We have definitely experienced manipulation and being taken advantage of during these rough seasons of growth that God has brought us to and it has been on more than one occasion and more than one season of our lives. Different ‘culprits’ each time. The thing is, it was easier to pray for the culprit who did not have a relationship with God. It was easier to live out the things Peter describes in this passage and truly be that example Christ asks us to be. I’m not saying it was ‘easy’ at all. Just that it was easier… Easier than when you are in those same shoes down the road but this time the ‘culprit’ claims to be a fellow brother/sister in Christ. Claims to live for God, but whose actions are so opposite it’s baffling. These are the times I truly struggle. These are the times I fail miserably, over and over again. I KNOW that God has placed us in the situation and season. I KNOW that God is well aware of what is going on, was aware of the situation LONG before it ever came about, placed us there anyway and for a purpose and asks the very same of us still. Sure, our actions follow what God and the bible have shown us and we do our very best to ‘rise above’ for lack of a better term, and humble ourselves before the ‘master’ God has placed over us. We are called as Christians to be disciplined in our actions and when made habit, the ‘correct action’ becomes second nature. But being a Christian isn’t all about actions is it? Nope. THAT is the hard part for me in these situations. The part where I stumble, fall, and fail. My heart is at war with itself. I want more than anything to let my anger and righteous indignation flow freely because what is happening isn’t just wrong. It’s ‘extra wrong’ when done in the name of Christ, right? So I am justified, right? Wrong. So very very wrong and I know it. That’s where the other side of the war of my heart comes in. I love the way the message phrases vs 21. We have been invited to the kind of life Christ lived. He has been in my shoes and beyond times 1,000%. He was tortured and put to death by the ‘religious’ yet he prayed for them in the midst of suffering and dying. Not just as an action to show people the right thing to do as a believer in him, but as a truly heart filled act of overflowing love and compassion. He speaks to my heart during the times I struggle with all of this and reminds me that the only person my anger will destroy is me and that there is no place for righteous indignation when we have decided to follow him. He also reminds me that the person I want to be so angry with is the very person he is actively persuing. The very HEART he is actively persuing. He wants to use me in this persuit but won’t be able if my heart isn’t there because the things in my heart are always so obviously written all over my face. He also reminds me that in my trusting him and choosing to grow during this moment and situation he has placed me in, he and I will become closer and that is something we both want. Jesus and I.
My desire for a closer relationship with God and Christ is stronger than my desire to hold on to my anger. Ultimately I submit to his will and the authority he placed over me and I do my best to let go of the anger, then let God do the rest. In the heat of the moment though my heart and sometimes my mouth behind closed doors run wild. In which case I am a failure… a growing, learning, pick myself back up and dust myself off to try again, failure. I am blessed and grateful to serve a God who is loving enough and patient enough to bring me through this lesson time and time again until it sticks. It amazes me that he never shows me any sign of frustration with my stubborn heart.
I am not persecuted very often but when I am, I have pride and judgement thinking that person just doesn’t know Jesus the way I do. Then I am convicted of not loving the way Christ wants me to. His example of how we should react was a great act of love when He prayed while dying for us all on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” Luke 23:34. I am blessed when I am stay quiet like He did and when I pray like He did. When we obey Him and pray for our enemies, we are His ambassadors to the lost. They get to see the Jesus in us! It’s impossible to speak guile and pray for someone at the same time because the prayer is an act of Christ’s love and compassion. We take up our cross when we die to pride and judgement. Since Jesus left the judgement up to the Father, we can do the same and love our enemies by praying for them too. We will be Christ’s ambassadors so they have a chance to see Him like we do, our loving and compassionate Savior of the world.
Bravo Jody, you did a spendid job