I’m so glad you’re back! Are you feeling motivated today? What’s your emotion? Go ahead; take a minute to label it. Write it down in a journal. There’s something about labeling our emotions that helps us live healthy lives. Emotions are wonderful gifts from God, and yet at the same time, they can be powerful and destructive. Awareness of what is happening on the inside is important.
When was the last time you were treated unjustly by someone? Maybe your boss dismissed your efforts, maybe a spouse was abusive, or maybe a parent mistreated you. I want you to know that neither Jesus nor the Bible ever condone slavery or any form of abuse. You can read the whole book of Exodus to see clearly that God hates slavery.
Can I say it again? God hates slavery! To mistreat or abuse another human made in the image of God is a disgrace! If you are currently in a situation where you feel like you are being abused, please let someone know. If you are a part of our community of faith, please reach out so that we can get you help.
Abuse has gone up during the COVID crisis. When all of this is finished, there are going to be a lot of heartbreaking stories. Foster The Bay is going to need a lot of families to step up and help host children in their homes.
It can be hard to process a passage like this when we don’t fully understand the context. First off, let’s take note that Peter is not writing to slave owners. In the book of Philemon, a slave owner becomes a believer, and the Apostle Paul begs the slave owner to free his believing servant, Onesimus. It’s a great book; you should read it sometime.
In today’s passage, Peter is writing to a group of people who ranged from peasant house workers to slaves who were completely abused because of their position in society. He calls them to radically respond to their unjust situation. He calls them to “patiently endure unjust treatment.” He says that when we submit to earthly masters, we please God and ultimately that we receive a reward.
Today, I want to encourage those of you who feel like you are living in an unjust situation. Maybe you were passed over for a promotion because of your ethnicity, maybe you have a child who mistreats you, maybe you have a parent who is cruel, or maybe you put up with a boss who never notices your work.
Your Heavenly Father sees it all! He knows, and He cares.
We endure the injustices of this world not because our earthly situation is worthy of our heavenly response. We endure out of reverence for God. We show respect not because a cruel master deserves it, but because God is our redeemer.
There are some things in life you will walk through regardless of your attitude. There are trials in my life that I have asked God to remove. There are things that I am walking through right now that I can’t speak of, but at times they feel like an incredible injustice. In no way am I saying I can relate the pain of being a slave, but in every way, I am saying that this truth applies to each one of the injustices we face.
I know what it’s like to have trials that last longer than a decade. I know what it’s like to be in situations I can’t control no matter how much power or skill I muster up. I know what it’s like to feel chained to a situation, beg God to change it, to wait, and then realize it’s still the same. To go to bed at night with the grief that I will face the same circumstance the next day.
How do we endure the situations in our lives that feel unjust?
“But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.”
Another version of the Bible says it like this, “But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.” The actual word Peter uses is karis. Grace. Favor from God. Sounds like a great name for a kid, doesn’t it?
So if you endure, you find grace and favor from God. God is the one who rewards me for my endurance. This is my hope. My hope is not in my situation changing or getting easier. My hope is not even in my ability to endure. My hope is found in my confidence that the just God of the universe is shaping something inside of me through my unjust circumstances.
Later, we are going to find out how Peter died, and we are going to know that he really meant these words. Tomorrow, we are going to look into the face of Jesus again and see how He was cruelly treated so that we can live free.
Today I’d like to ask you to label your emotion and the situation in your life that feels unjust. Ask God to give you the strength to persevere and the confidence in His ability to reward you for not giving up.