Vengeance or Servanthood?

servantI have a dear friend whose boss treats him contemptibly. Verbal tirades for no reason are frequent occurrences. My friend, although sometimes shaken by the man’s outbursts, continues to do his job as unto the Lord. My friend’s actions and attitude have been a real inspiration to me.

The Apostle Peter said this, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust” (1 Peter 2:18). We are to be respectful even to those who are unjust.*

Immediately following the above passage, Peter continues his thoughts with these words, “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God” (1 Peter 2:19-20).

It is “a gracious thing in the sight of God” when you endure through injustice in the workplace. Of course, in our normal human thinking, this is backward. We tend to lash out, to fight back. When someone wrongs us—especially in a job situation—we want revenge. We certainly don’t want to take abuse lying down. After all, justice must be served, right?

Yet, Peter adds a further thought, “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” (1 Peter 2:21).

Following in His steps. Those steps led Him to be whipped, beaten, mocked, and ridiculed, but He offered no retaliation. Although Jesus could have been far more justified than you or me in getting even, He didn’t. Instead, He left us an example to follow.

I’ll be honest. I don’t always enjoy following that specific example. However, whether I like it or not, it’s the right—and godly—thing to do.

[*Of course, it should be noted that there are times it would be wise and prudent to look for another job.]

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