Yield or Suffer ∙
So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. – 1 Peter 4:19
1 Peter 2:20-23
20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.
21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
February 23, 303 A.D., Emperor Diocletian, began a crackdown on Christians. Diocletian took the stance, “Yield or Suffer.” The Roman persecutors captured and hauled off leaders of the church and martyred them. Christian books and Scriptures were seized and burned. Many of the children of the King died deaths of great courage. Theodotus as he was being led to prison said, “It is but just that Christians should suffer for Him who suffered for us all.”
In the end, it was the Christians who won the showdown. All the might of Rome could not crush the children of the King’s allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ. In 311, the dying Emperor Diocletian issued an edict of toleration. The Christians had outlasted the strength and brutality of the Roman empire. Their resistance to Rome’s power was instrumental in winning the right to follow their faith.
John 15:20 Do you remember what I told you? “A slave is not greater than the master.” Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.
Those familiar with the history of the early Christian church, know that the first three centuries AD were times of great persecution and martyrdom. The Romans seemed to take delight in tormenting the children of the King. In many countries of the world today, persecution and martyrdom are a way of life. Antipathy toward the children of the King in America is growing. Will it reach that level?
Physical torment and death are not the regular experience of children of the King in America. However, there are other forms of trauma. We experience emotional and psychological stress. As fallen people, we experience rejection, abandonment, snubs, betrayals, broken promises, and offenses. How do we respond to such treatment? When are treated poorly, how should we conduct ourselves? When our feelings are hurt, how do we respond?
Some find therapeutic value in venting their anger when wronged. Others hold their anger in and suppress it.
The Lord Jesus Christ faced the very wrongs experienced by the children of the King. He was the “Suffering Servant.” “He was without sin, and yet he was insulted, and he suffered; but he accepted the insults and the suffering with serene love and bore them for the sins of the world” (Barclay). The Lord Jesus Christ repeatedly and continually committed His situation into the Father’s hands.
REFLECT & PRAY
Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did (1 John 2:6).
Father it seems like almost every day there is some reason to get upset and lash out. Teach me to release and turn over to You all of my pain, irritation, and anger. Strengthen me to become more like Lord Jesus Christ and follow in His steps.
The Lord Jesus Christ provided an extraordinary example. He endured insult and injury without complaining or becoming angry. Instead, He demonstrated steadfastness and unfailing love.
1 Peter 2:21, 23
21 Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
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.
When young children were learning to write the first century AD, the teacher would write out an example is them to replicate. The teacher’s example provided a sample or model, a master copy for them to imitate. This was called the hupogrammos. The students kept practicing and practicing until they duplicated the example exactly. Many of us did something like this when we were children using a blackboard or whiteboard.
The Lord Jesus Christ is our hupogrammos. He is our example to emulate. We can become free from responding in anger.
When the Lord Jesus Christ experienced harsh, unfair treatment, how did He respond?
1 Peter 2:23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
While on earth, the Lord Jesus Christ, was the recipient of repeated reproach, insult, slander, abusive speech, and attempts at entrapment. His tender, sensitive, loving heart was wounded repeatedly. He absorbed all of the abuse without responding in kind. He controlled His tongue.
The Greek language has several past tenses. One of them is called the imperfect tense. It is used to describe continual activity occurring in the past.
The Greek term translated as entrusting, committed, or left his case in the hands is paradidomi. It is in the imperfect tense. When He was maligned, He did not answer back, He threatened no retaliation. Instead, He continually and repeatedly (imperfect tense) committed Himself to the Father who judges justly. He handed all of the ill-treatment over to the Father.
The Lord Jesus Christ is not in the business of getting even.
By nature people are vindictive. It courses through our DNA. Yet a vengeful, spiteful spirit is self-defeating and harmful. It generates a lot of overhead and collateral damage. “Vindictiveness will eat our heart out. It will sour our spirit” (Richison).
The Father wants us to be free of a spirit of revenge. He desires that we leave judgment in His hands. Releasing our hurt, pain, and sorrow, and handing them over to the Father granting Him control does not come naturally. Yet, it is a skill that any child of the King can learn, practice, develop, and master.
© Dr. H 2022