18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. 1 Pet. 2:18-25
The believer’s worst nightmare is to find him or her defending himself in time of suffering, and particularly when it is wrongful suffering. The most terrifying thing that can happen to a believer is not to meet the devil face to face. On the contrary, it is to find him/herself unable to humble himself as God requires him/her to do. This is the worst thing that a believer can experience.
The key verse in the passage above is v. 19:
“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.”
Notice the words:
– “conscience toward God”
– “suffering wrongfully”.
We are to take wrongful suffering patiently. That is God’s will for us as His children. There are people who teach that believers should not pass through an iota of trouble. That is not what the Bible says. Such a gospel is from the devil.
What exactly does it mean to “endure grief, suffering wrongfully.”? It means not to seek to set matters right when we are being persecuted wrongfully. It means not to react bitterly when wrongfully attacked, and not to seek vengeance. There are many believers who have a vengeance mentality. They walk about with thoughts of revenge for real and imagined wrongs. In every situation they want their pound of flesh.
But notice in this passage of scripture that it is when we take wrongful suffering “patiently” that we become “acceptable with God”. “Acceptable to God” means pleasing God by doing His will. It means becoming His children, real time, because it is the nature of God to endure suffering and thus to defeat evil with good. It is when we bless, instead of cursing in contrary situations, that we find ourselves doing God’s will. It is when, from our hearts, we do well to our persecutors, and do not repay evil for evil.
We are to seek to do well and to respond positively in the most contrary situations.
When they came to arrest Jesus, the Bible says that Peter took out his sword and cut off one of the Chief Priest’s servant’s ear. Peter’s heart was bitter – and faithless. But Jesus’ heart was different from Peter’s. In the first place, Jesus had no element of bitterness or vengeance in Him. Secondly, His heart was filled with kindness and mercy. And so, even as He knew the sufferings that these soldiers would put Him through, yet Jesus could only bless and do them well. He took the servant’s ear and put it back. He even took the trouble to inform us that the servant’s name was Malchus. Jesus made Malchus one of His special friends! Jesus loved those men!!
Then, after they had tortured and crucified Him, as He died on the cross, He could only think of blessing them. He said,
“… Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Lk. 23:34
Jesus was a Man who was acceptable to God. That means He pleased God highly.
But when we begin bad-mouthing our persecutors or murmuring about our wrongful sufferings or bad situations, or entertaining thoughts of vengeance, God is not pleased at all. The reason is that these attitudes are of the flesh. It is the flesh that likes defending itself. God does not defend Himself. On the contrary, He gives out His life. The Bible states of Jesus:
“24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (v. 24-25)
Jesus did not defend Himself when He was wrongly accused and persecuted to death. He willingly gave away His life that we might live.
Jesus did not carry any grudges against anyone. We are always carrying grudges, one way or another. But Jesus did not do that. Instead, the Bible says, Jesus “committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (v.23).
That means there was peace in His heart even as His rights were being taken away from Him. There was no grumbling or murmurings from Him. From the bottom of His heart, Jesus would not lift a finger to defend Himself. Instead, praise and thanksgiving flowed from Him towards God. And a good heart towards His enemies. Everything that Jesus did was acceptable with God.
I thank God that He has allowed me to live to see these truths. During the course of my life, I have fought and fought – for my rights. But God is not pleased with such attitudes because they are of the flesh, and carnal. I have discovered, much to my distress, that there is no worse place to be than when you are not pleasing God.
I cannot please God because I am Zakaria Mwita. God is not pleased with names or personalities. I cannot please God because people call me “Man of God”. I can only please God by doing His will. It is my prayer that God will give me the grace to never open my mouth or do anything to defend myself when I am suffering wrongfully. That is the time of my testing, and I can only do only ONE thing to pass that test: to carry a good heart.
[Below: A boon: The new face of public transportation in Dar es Salaam City]