1 Peter 2:19-22
“If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval.” vs. 20
It was not unusual in the Roman provinces for households to include a number of slaves, and it’s evident that many of those slaves became followers of Jesus. Peter in his letter advises those slaves to patiently endure when they are mistreated. They should take consolation in knowing that Jesus suffered in the same way, and he is to be their great example. In fact, it could be possible that their masters would be impressed by their humble obedience. During the 19th century in the United States, Peter’s words were understood by Christian slaveholders to be an endorsement of slavery as God’s plan for some people. Their pro-slavery stance brought about divisions in some denominations that are evident even now. In reality of course, Peter was not endorsing slavery as an institution. But he was advising anyone who suffered unjustly to focus on Jesus as an example of hope and endurance. It’s still true that suffering almost always brings with it elements of injustice and unfairness–and some know full well how difficult it is to endure when it comes our way. But when we do suffer, it’s not that God approves of the suffering, that’s surely not God’s intention. Suffering has many causes! But our one sure consolation is found in the loving arms of Jesus.
Thought for the Day: Why did some Christians become abolitionists?