God’s Word for You
1 Peter 2:18-22 Taking a beating
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, March 18, 2022
18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.
Since slavery is illegal in modern times, it is not wrong for someone held captive today to try to escape and bring their captors to justice. It would be idealistic to add that we would also want to bring them to repentance, but what seems unlikely to our minds is not impossible with God. Yet such a thing should also be done with one’s safety in mind.
Children owe respect and obedience to parents whether the parents are good or wicked. Citizens owe their authorities respect and obedience whether those authorities are good and benevolent or cruel and selfish. And now we see that servants and employees owe respect and obedience to their masters or employers. This is even the case if a worker leaves one job for another. It is not a godly thing to quote the Johnny Paycheck song to your boss: “Take this job and shove it.” It would be better to say, “My services are required somewhere else.”
19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” (NIV)
Here Peter helps us to distinguish between the model for suffering unjustly and the motive for doing so. He takes us to the trial(s) of Jesus before his crucifixion through the prophecy of Isaiah 53:9. Peter’s words are clear and cut to the heart. It is to your credit if you do good to people who are good to you? It’s to your credit if you take a wrongful beating and bear up under it, and it’s especially commendable before God. Our model for this kind of suffering is the suffering Jesus endured at the hands of the Romans and the Jews. We see Paul modeling this as well (Acts 23:1-5). But our motive is what Peter already said about the will of God: “that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:15).
We might receive a financial beating, or a tongue-lashing in public or on some thoughtless brute’s Twitter account. To say nothing causes other people to ask, “Why doesn’t he say anything?” And the reason is to give glory to God. If I respond with all of the words I’m capable of spewing out, that will just satisfy the devil’s desire to stir the pot. The devil never has your best interests in mind; quite the reverse. It would be better to say, or to pray, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:20). What credit is there to me if I show contentment when things go well with my life? May the Lord give me the strength and the patience to show contentment when things do not go well, or when I receive a beating, or when I suffer. And may God forgive me when I miss an opportunity to do so. But thanks be to God that we have a Savior in heaven who lives and who forgives! He will return, as he has promised, and carry us home to paradise.
Pastor Timothy Smith