The injustice in our world is rampant. Sin reigns in the hearts of people and the end result has been great injustice. Slavery, to this day, is still practiced in the world. Men beat their wives because they cooked the meal wrong, or worse, burned it. Children are abused, both physically and emotionally. Injustice is all around us. Because of the suffering that exists, our world has created a certain aura around those who suffer. Suffering in and of itself has become a means of righteousness. I think that Peter was aware of this and gave us a warning. I believe Peter is pointing us away from this empty suffering. The reason I believe this is the little clause he added to the sentence…”mindful of God.” Without this clause, the focus is no longer on suffering, but God Himself. It is only when we suffer with God on our mind that we suffer graciously. What does it mean to be mindful of God? I think it is an important question to ask. If we are to suffer as God has called us to, we ought to know what this clause means. The perfect example was Jesus. How did he suffer? What was it about his disposition and actions that made his suffering worthwhile? I think Peter answers our question. In v.23, Peter tells us how Jesus responded to the injustice he suffered. “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.” I believe we have big shoes to fill. Let’s discuss this one part at a time. Jesus did not return evil for evil. There was no tit for tat, no eye for an eye. As He preached in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus turned the other cheek. This is truly amazing A God who does that which He commands His creation! To deepen the thought, consider this; Jesus is God, God has decreed that revenge is His, He will repay for injustice. In perfect obedience, Jesus laid aside His rights as God and subjected Himself to the authority of the Father and live in the manner of a servant. That is the type of God we serve; One who will show us how to live.
Let’s continue pondering the verse. Peter ends by saying that while suffering, Jesus did not threaten. Let me stop for a moment. Here is the King of the Universe, with all authority in heaven and earth, hanging from a tree. I be the legions of angels were ready to strike. Flaming sword and chariot were waiting for even a breath of an order to engage. Or even yet, He could of justly spoken to them their coming condemnation. He could have spoken in great detail about the horrible and insatiable pain that awaited them for their crime. Yet, He was silent before them, like a lamb led to the slaughter. Instead, Peter tells us what Jesus did. He entrusted Himself to God, the Father, who judges justly. Wow! That is what it means to to be mindful of God in our suffering. To know that He is the one who judges justly. He is the One with ultimate final authority. He is sovereign overall. He is the righteous One who executes justice. No matter what suffering you endure, if you do so unjustly, consider God! Will He not set the account right in the end? Does He not delight in making things new and right? Be mindful of Jesus in your unjust suffering. Know that your injustice is not forever. It is a mist that disappears in the morning.
There is one implication I would like to address. If we must suffer with God on our mind as ultimate judge, what does this mean for those who suffer and are not mindful of Him? They suffer in vain. We are meant to identify with Jesus in our suffering and if we do so without considering Him, we will revile in return, we will threaten and the anger that wells up inside of us over our perceived injustice will ultimately destroy us if God allows it to.
Dear friends, be mindful of God in your suffering. Don’t be like the world. Be like Jesus. Ask for the strength and He will supply it!