Suffering Unjustly

1 Peter 3:8-9 ESV

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

This unity of mind that we, as followers of Christ, are to have with one another is the mind of Christ. We are to be united with one another with the mind of Christ, not with human thinking or reasoning. And, what was his mind? We read about it in Philippians 2:5-8 ESV:

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Though not one of us can emulate exactly what Jesus did, because we are not God, we can learn from this, in principle, what this might mean for us as mere humans.

What I believe this says to us is that we are not to be prideful. We are to empty ourselves of all such pride or self-importance. And, we are to humble ourselves, and have servant attitudes towards one another, putting others’ legitimate needs and their frailties above our own needs, and above our own reputations, too.

We have to be willing to lay down our lives to see others find true freedom from slavery to sin in Christ Jesus, our Lord. For, it could cost us our lives, or at least our reputations. For, we may be treated just like Jesus was for giving out the message of the gospel which teaches death to sin and living to righteousness.

And, if it does not mean our literal deaths, it will definitely strip away any ounce of pride we might yet have remaining in our hearts.

But, when we are mistreated, and when we are accused falsely of things we did not do, as Jesus experienced, we are not to retaliate. We are not to get even. But, we are to commit our lives into God’s capable hands and trust him to work this all out for the good of us who love God and who have been called according to his purposes.

1 Peter 3:10-12 ESV

For, “Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

This is the message of the gospel. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await his soon return (1 Pet. 2:24; Tit. 2:11-14).

This is the reason we are saved from our sins, not just so we can go to heaven when we die, but so we can live righteously for God and for his service while we still live on the face of this earth.

And, this is why the New Testament continuously stresses that we must stop doing what is wrong, and we must put on Christ, and walk in obedience to him, and do what is right (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 6:7-8).

For, the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers. But, this doesn’t mean that the righteous will not suffer wrongdoing, or that we won’t have to go through hardships and persecutions. For, he may use what we go through to accomplish his purposes, and even to answer our prayers for the salvation of loved ones.

Although God does allow evil to reign, for a time, this does not mean God is not opposed to them, or that they are not going to have their day in court, too. For, although he allows evil to exist, and for evil men (and women) to go on in their evil deeds, and although he even allows them to cause suffering in his beloved ones’ lives, for a time, one day he is going to judge them for their evil deeds and for their denial and rejection of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 3:13-18 ESV

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.

Jesus definitely suffered for doing good, the ultimate in good. So, just because we do what is good, it doesn’t mean we are not going to suffer unjustly like he did. In fact, he promises us that we will. But, this is in order to make us like Jesus in thought, heart, attitude, and in behavior.

So, we should not be afraid of what might happen to us, or of what evil may be perpetrated against us. We should not be troubled in our spirits when evil prevails and when it looks like evil has won and we have lost. But, in our hearts we must always honor Christ the Lord as holy. We must believe in his sovereignty over our lives, and trust him even in the direst of circumstances.

Some of us may be brought into situations where we must give a defense as to why we believe what we do, and as to why we do the things we do, too, in obedience to our Lord. So, we must always be prepared to give an answer to those who ask, but without fear of what they might do to us in return. And, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to give us the words to say, too.

In all that we do, and in every response we make, especially when we are slandered, we must say “No” to our flesh, and we must render our hearts and our minds to the control of the Holy Spirit, and allow him to give us the words to say. We must be honest, too, and not fear what people might think about us if we tell them the truth.

In all that we do, we must keep foremost in our minds the good of others, i.e. what is God’s good he has in mind for them, which is for their benefit, that they may also be united with him in heart and mind.

So, we must be willing to suffer unjustly, too, if that will bring people to God, i.e. to faith in Jesus Christ. We must willingly lay down our own reputations, in other words, in order that others might find freedom from addiction to sin and walk in purity and in righteousness the rest of their days.

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

9 thoughts on “Suffering Unjustly

  1. Amen! This was so close to tge word that was spoken in church today. It was about feeding your enemy when they are hungry, not judging others but loving them, and getting the planks out of our eyes to help others say no to sin. Our pastor said it doesn’t say don’t get the speck out of their eye, it just said to remove your plank first. When we walk upright and live victoriously over sin we can help others, by bringing them to the Lord. This was so powerful and beautiful and God is conforming so much to me. I shared it with my pastor’s wife and my husband. So blessed by your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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