The Right Way To Respond

Below is an excerpt from my book Thriving In Exile.

1 Peter 2:20b-25 But when you do what is good and suffer, if you endure it, this brings favor with God. For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth; when he was insulted, he did not insult in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

In 1 Peter 2, the apostle Peter shows us how we as believers should navigate being wronged. What we learn is true grace is demonstrated to the world when you are treated unjustly but respond honorably and good. When we refuse to react to suffering in sinful ways, it makes us more like Jesus and demonstrates our confidence in him. Peter tells us that as we are aware of God, we can endure the grief that comes from unjust suffering. And as we are mindful of God we will also honor and respect those who hold positions over us, even if they are not good. When we endure this type of unjust suffering we experience God’s favor according to verse 20.


True grace is demonstrated to the world when you are treated unjustly but respond honorably and good.


Jesus As Our Example

1 Peter 2:21-23 For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth; when he was insulted, he did not insult in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.

One of the things that Peter repeatedly addresses is how Christians should understand and respond to suffering. He is telling us that we are called to suffer because Christ has also suffered for us, giving us an example so we may follow in his steps. Jesus is the perfect example of someone who endured suffering unjustly. Instead of returning evil for evil Peter challenges us to trust God who will make every wrong right.  


Instead of returning evil for evil Peter challenges us to trust God who will make every wrong right.


Jesus As Our Substitute 

1 Peter 2:24-25 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

But Jesus’s suffering was more than just an example, he is our substitute. He bore our sins and purchased our redemption and Peter reminds us that because of this we can live for righteousness. The reason we can rightly respond when we are treated badly is that we have the righteousness of God flowing through us! That same righteousness that enabled Jesus to endure unjust suffering has given us the ability to do the same thing. 


That same righteousness that enabled Jesus to endure unjust suffering has given us the ability to do the same thing.


Here Peter is quoting Isaiah again and reminding us of our past and now our current standing with God. Jesus has given us the ability to live in a way that pleases God and honors him. God will not ask us to suffer anything that his Son was not willing to undergo. The cross is his demonstration of this. Any unjust suffering we face is only temporary. We live with the promise that God will make every wrong right. 

Romans 12:19 Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.

That is how a believer navigates unjust suffering as a stranger and exile. As difficult as this may be, it’s important to remember that following Christ often means sacrificing comfort. We are thankful that Christ bore our cross for us, but often we don’t want to deal with hardships and when we do, our knee jerk reaction is often to respond the opposite of what Peter is calling us too. But when we trust God, we can demonstrate grace in our suffering, and doing so demonstrates that our faith is real. 


Following Christ often means sacrificing comfort.


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How Do We Navigate Suffering?

THRIVING IN EXILE

Discover how your Christian identity can enable you to walk through the difficulties in your life well while at the same time point people to the one place they can find lasting hope.

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Published by Nick Minerva

Nick Minerva lives in Fresno, California with his wife, Sarah and their four children. He currently serves as the Associate Pastor of Fresno Church where he has been on staff for over 10 years.

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