Saturday, May 15, 2010

Getting Our (Un)Just Deserts

"For what glory is it, 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." (1 Peter 2:20)

There are TV personalities and lifestyle gurus who have become fabulously rich by convincing people they are victims in life. As a matter of fact, one of them is purported to be the richest woman in the world; and although she has given millions of dollars to charitable enterprises, this in no way diminishes the fact that she has become wealthy by preying on the real and perceived misery of others. And her avid followers are just that: followers, in some cases, to the point of discipleship. [1]

I am forced to admit, this kind of psychological influence works especially well on women. Ever since the Garden of Eden, Satan has always known what button to push with the female of the species. "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen.3:5). "You're being deprived," says Satan. "God wishes to limit you from being all you can be and reaching your potential." Blah, blah, blah! Anybody who tries to make you think you can be as divine as God and Jesus Christ is taking his (or her) cue from Satan's playbook, and everybody involved will end up in the same place, and it's not Heaven.

Having made that distinction, my point in all this is that Peter agrees: there are those among us who are actual victims. People who, through no fault of their own, have been treated unfairly, struck out against (buffeted) by either people or circumstances, in a most unjust way. The difference is our response to such treatment. The difference between screaming for our rights and submitting to the will of God. Don't misunderstand, I believe the principle of fair treatment for all should be championed, but I also believe the principle of self-vindication should be renounced. Isn't that what verses twelve through twenty-three of 1 Peter 2 is all about? We are told in verse twenty-one that Jesus left us an example that we should "follow his steps." Follow His steps how? "Who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him [God the Father] that judgeth righteously" (v. 23).

The most unfairly and illogically treated human being who ever lived has given us an example to follow and a rationale to embrace. Only those who suffer unfairly should expect to find their victimization "acceptable with God." Getting our "just deserts" doesn't count; only our unjust ones do. At least, that's what the Bible says.

The key to making this truth a reality in our lives is found in the last seven words of verse twenty-three, where we are told Jesus "committed himself to him who judgeth righteously." Here's the thing; the Judge hasn't ruled. The verdict isn't in yet; and when it does come in, it will be just. We can assured of that. (2 Tim.4:8) If you and I are willing to commit our vindication to the same God to whom we committed our souls, we have His assurance that any unfair treatment we may suffer is acceptable with Him.

Is that acceptable with you?


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