Many of us can think of instances where our brothers and sisters in Christ have wrong us in some way or another. I am sure that I have wronged someone. There are people, believers and non-believers, that have treated us unfairly, unjustly and some have committed sin against us. (When I say committed sin against us, I mean stolen something from us, deceived us, treated us wrongly, etc.) So the question is how do we deal with this? What is the proper response in this situation? Christ is our example. He was wronged by many people. He was accused of doing things that He did not do. They made fun of Him. If we look at 1 Peter 2 we can see what Christ’s response was to them.
1 Peter 2:18-24
1Pe 2:18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.
1Pe 2:19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.
1Pe 2:20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.
1Pe 2:21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
1Pe 2:22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;
1Pe 2:23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;
1Pe 2:24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
It is talking to servants here, but these things also apply to us. Verse 19 “if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.” This finds favor before God. First of all what is conscience toward God? It is listening to Him, knowing what He would have you do in a situation and standing by it even if it come to suffering unjustly. To do what is right even if you will suffer for it.
In verse 20 Peter asks a good question. If you sin and are harshly treated, disciplined you know you deserve it and endure it with patience. When you do right you do not expect to be disciplined for it do you? No! Peter is saying patiently endure it. Patiently endure what people do to you and continue to do right. This finds favor in God’s sight.
Verse 21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ suffered for you leaving an example for you to follow in His steps. What purpose? To patiently endure harsh treatment, suffering, mistreatment and to follow in Christ’s steps. When thinking about this the question that must be asked is, Was Christ ever mistreated, unjustly treated, or suffer? When we read the account of the time from right after the Lord’s supper until He died, we see many instances where He was mistreated. In fact, throughout His life Christ was mistreated and suffered persecution at the hand of the religious leaders, these so called” Men of God”, yet He did nothing wrong. Yet even today there are people just as the Pharisees who go by the name “Christian”, so called” followers of Christ” and yet do they actually walk in His steps? Much suffering and persecution that we face comes from people who claim to be Christians, but who live lives with no regard for Christ nor do they desire to walk in His steps.
Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example to follow in His steps. Verses 22-24 tell us of Christ’s example.
1. He committed no sin.
2. No deceit was found in His mouth. He never deceived anyone.
3. While being reviled(made fun of, insulted, taunted) He did not revile in return
4. While suffering, He did not threaten them
5. He entrusted Himself to the Father who judges righteously
6. He bore our sin in His body on the Cross.
1. He committed no sin. This is His example to us. We are to strive daily to live a life of righteousness before God. Many will say that is impossible. Yes it is. That is why I use the word “strive”. It is something we are always working towards, we are always moving towards. Also, it is to move towards righteousness before God, not before man. We should be seeking righteousness before God, because man’s understanding of righteousness is not righteousness at all. Let us daily strive to commit no sin, as Christ also committed no sin.
2. No deceit was found in His mouth. He did not lie, ever. He did not do anything deceitful. Yet many people who call themselves “Christians” say it is ok to lie in certain situations or it is ok to deceive people in certain situations. Christ never did so. If we are following in His steps, no deceit should be found in our mouths either.
3. While being reviled (made fun of, insulted, taunted) He did not revile in return. People made fun of Him, they insulted Him, and they taunted Him, when He was being flogged before His crucifixion and even when He was on the cross. Yet He did not insult them in return. Jesus said,” Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11. We are not to insult those people in return. We are to pray for those who persecute us. Matthew 5:44
4. While suffering He did not threaten them. He did not say He was going to make them pay for what they had done. We should be counting it all joy, when we face trials of many kinds. James 1:3-4. When we are suffering we should be thanking the Lord that He has allowed us this opportunity to face a trial of this kind, knowing the testing of our faith develops perseverance.
5. He entrusted Himself to the Father who judges righteously. He gave all of these things that people had done to Him to the Father to judge righteously. It is not up to us to get people back for what they have done to us. We should also be entrusting ourselves to the Father and giving all of those things that have been done to wrong us to the Father. The sins that have been committed against us need to be given to the Father. If they are not then it causes us to sin also.
6. He bore our sins in His body on the cross. He took all of our sins and the sins of those who have wronged us, to the cross with Him. So that we might die to sin and live to Righteousness. If Christ had not died on the cross, take our sins there with Him and rose again three days later, there would be no reason to follow in His steps. He died and bore our sins so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. We are to be living righteous lives and the way we do that is to follow in Christ’s steps.
Coming back to the original question of how we deal with people who have sinned against us and treated us wrongly. We deal with them as Christ dealt with them. He gave those things that were done to Him up to the Father, the righteous judge. We also are to give them up to the righteous judge and let Him deal with it.