When I make a mistake or say the wrong thing and someone points it out, I quickly come to my own defense. I’m not patient at all with criticism, even when the other person is right.
This morning, I’m reading 1 Peter 2 and God tells me I have an even bigger problem. It is talking about a submissive spirit. I define that as “being free from the tyranny of always needing to have my own way” and always applied it to the verses in chapter 3 about wives married to men who do not obey God, or, in my case, the man who won’t do what I want him to do!
Chapter 2 is talking about a servant/master relationship, but the principle is universal. It says submission is not just about people who treat me well, but those who do not. I can see that it also applies to the way people talk about me and to me.
“For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps . . . .”
In any and every situation, Jesus is my model, the example of how to behave. By knowing Him and what He did and would do, I also can know what to do. However, this passage makes me think, Hey, wait a minute!
I can imagine myself patiently enduring a true accusation. I’ve not done this much, but I can see that this is appropriate. I’m not impressed if I see someone else making excuses and defending themselves when they’ve been ‘caught in the act’ or their folly is exposed. Defending myself is pointless when I should simply admit they are right in what they say.
But this goes farther. It says I’m to have the same attitude of Christ and that He could ask me to also patiently endure the verbal abuse of a false accusation, not standing up and fighting for my right to be right. I think I’m a reasonably submissive person, but can’t see myself putting up with this.
Jesus did it. The passage even tells how. It says that when He was taken to the cross, He “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth . . . when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.”
Committed means to hand over. As my study Bible notes say, Jesus was handed over to Pilate; Pilate handed Him over to the Jews; but Christ handed over Himself to God and suffered in silence because He had perfect confidence in the righteous sovereignty of His Father.
This exposes me. If I trust God as much as I think I do, then when someone says I’m wrong, whether I am or not, I can relax knowing that God will defend me, take care of me, make the truth known, and do whatever else is right, according to His plan and His timing.
The rub is that ‘if I trust God as much as I think I do.’