21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 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 2.21-23
One of the more powerful moments of temptation comes to us, when we are sinned against. Though we may have been taught from a young age that ‘two wrongs don’t make a right,’ it still seems right to answer a wrong with a wrong. I won’t try to answer all the complexities involved with the temptation to sin, when we are sinned against, but I want to highlight one. When we are sinned against, our hearts know intuitively that an injustice has been done. Our hearts also know that this injustice should be righted. Where we get into temptation is thinking that we are the ones who should right the wrong, by bringing the punishment to our offender. This is where we are tempted to gossip or slander or even more physically harm another. What is so torturous about this, is that our hearts can feel justified in sinning against another, because we have been sinned against.
Peter instructs us of Jesus’ way and power for committing no sin, when we are sinned against. First, he reminds us that we have been called by God to suffer injustice in a way that honors God. We have been called by Jesus’ example, to follow in his footsteps. Jesus was the most sinned against individual in all human history, and yet he never sinned. How did Jesus refuse to sin against those who sinned against him? Peter tells us, ‘Entrusting himself to him who judges justly’ (v. 23). Jesus entrusted himself to God, to judge him justly. What this means is that when Jesus was being mocked on the cross, and he prayed for those mocking him, he was also entrusting himself to our Father to justly deal with the sins being committed against him. Jesus was empowered to obey our Father by entrusting himself to God to do justice on his behalf. We are to read and understand Jesus’ resurrection from the dead as the beginning of God’s vindication of Jesus, and one day every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord—everything he said and taught and did was true! Jesus entrusted himself to God, our Father, and did not sin by reviling when he suffered, because he was convinced that God would justly deal with the sins committed against him.
This is our power too. When sinned against, we don’t revile in return. Why? Because we know that justice will be satisfied one day at the return of Jesus and the judgment of God. We can wait for this justice, because we know that just as God vindicated Jesus, he will vindicate all who belong to Jesus. Even more, for us, who belong to Jesus, we know that we brought suffering onto Jesus, because of our sin. Thus, when we are sinned against, we are reminded of our own sin against others and against Jesus, and Jesus’ great forgiveness of our sins. Thus, instead of trying to simply right a wrong against us, we seek to confront another about their sin against us with a two-fold hope: one, that our offender would be restored to a right relationship with God, and also that we would be able to grant forgiveness to our offender, just as Jesus secured it for our sins.
We invite you to attend a worship service at FCC on Sundays at 9 and 11 am.