For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.1 Peter 2:19-20
As I read this with my brother in Christ today, what struck me is the repetition of the phrase “gracious thing.”
What is this gracious thing in the sight of the Lord?
- V 19 – enduring sorrows while suffering unjustly
- V 20 – do good and suffer, enduring the suffering
Why should I do this?
V21 – Because this is every Christian’s calling – to endure and suffer injustice.
As I reflected on this, I wanted to clarify what this does not mean, and the Spirit brings to mind other verses to clarify my thoughts. I am sure this list is not exhaustive.
- It does not mean that we should not punish those who cause injustice. Verse 14 states the role of the government that God has ordained is to punish evil.
- It does not mean that we are not to assist those who are currently suffering injustice (1Jo 3:17-18)
- It does not mean we have to suffer injustice without crying for help. (1Jo 3:17-18)
Then what does it mean?
As we discussed through this, I think it means that if I do find myself in the position of suffering from injustice, God’s word is clear, that I ought to suffer and endure through it. Not every injustice I experience is “complainable” and liable for persecution. Occasionally, people do it to us either unintentionally or intentionally. As I reflected, it is also true that I have unwittingly carried out injustice in my daily walk to people around me. Such I am regretful for.
Often in relationships, I may feel unjustified in how I am treated, perhaps feeling not appreciated or wrongly accused off. This verse gives me the motivation to endure and not react emotionally. Experientially, when I react emotionally to such occasions, things tend to spiral downhill quickly. By learning how to endure like Christ, by remembering what He has done for me, conflicts can be resolved in a more amicable manner.
Indeed my motivation to suffer through injustice in such stituations must be Christ. And Peter is clear in how we should draw this motivation from Christ – I have to entrust myself to God who will judge justly at the final judgement.
When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.1 Peter 2:23
Indeed as we thought about it, both statements are true:
- God is not blind to what I am enduring because he sees it.
- God is not blind to the perpetrator of injustice and he will judge justly one day.
This is a huge encouragement to me as I continue on my walk.
Father, I pray that you help me draw my motivation to endure suffering in the face of injustice from what you have done on the cross for me.