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Defensiveness

If you want to know how you should live your life, look to Jesus. He is our example. We are to live as he lived. We are called to model his life. Our thoughts, words, and actions should align with his.

One lesson that I have recently reflected upon from Jesus’ life comes from 1 Pet 2:20–23. In this passage, Peter discusses Christian perseverance through unjust treatment. Peter writes that “if you do good and suffer and so endure, this finds favor with God.” The basis of this encouragement is Jesus’ example (v. 21). Peter says that Christians are called to this type of suffering because Christ suffered in this way. During his earthly ministry, Jesus was falsely accused. Jesus did not defend himself against these accusations (v. 22–23a). Rather, Peter says, Jesus “continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (v. 23b).

What this means for us is that sometimes we should suffer through unjust treatment. We are not always called to defend ourselves. We are not always called to justify our actions. We are not always called to correct misunderstanding. While difficult, this is what Jesus calls us to. Commenting on this point, the late John Stott writes, “Perhaps nothing is more completely opposed to our natural instincts than this command not to resist, but to bear unjust suffering and overcome evil with good. Yet the cross urges us to accept injury, love our enemies and leave the outcome to God” (Basic Christianity, 120).

When accusations come and misunderstanding persists, look to Jesus. Don’t be set on defending yourself. You might need to do that but in some situations you shouldn’t. In all situations, entrust yourself to God the Father, “who judges justly.” He is our defender, our salvation, and our rock. Seek him first and foremost, not yourself.

Pastor Chance

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