Yesterday morning the sermon was on submitting to authority and government, even when they probably don’t deserve it (1 Peter 2:13-17). While you certainly should not do something that God says is wrong just because the government asks you to (take a look at the situation when and where the Scripture reference was written), the whole point of God setting up and allowing human government is for that government to keep peace and order by punishing evil doers and affirming the good doers. Just because our leaders might not always be doing things correctly doesn’t mean that we don’t have to do things correctly on our end. This morning I got to thinking about how that relates to turning the other cheek.
As a freedom-having, freedom-loving US citizen, I do sometimes wonder how other people manage to live in countries that are not as free, especially how followers of Jesus manage. There are missionaries and Christians all over the world that have to work with and sometimes around the government to follow Jesus, and sometimes these believers must allow the government to persecute them. I balk at the idea of just letting someone arrest me, or punish me, or otherwise make my life difficult just because I’m doing something right and trying to live peaceably, but there are several places in the Bible where we are told that we should. When you think about it, fighting back is easy and natural, but when you don’t fight back, that’s weird and it gets people’s attention. I’m convinced that this attention-getting is one of the reasons why God has commanded us to just let things happen sometimes (Matthew 5:38-48; Titus 3:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17).
When we live good, honorable lives and do what’s right and helpful for the people around us for God’s glory, no one will be able to have a legitimate complaint against us. Some will still talk and lie, but when they notice that we’re different, God will use that to get their attention. God knows what He’s doing and why. God knows what He’s commanding us to do when He tells us to submit to authority and when He tells us to turn the other cheek. God knows what it will do when people see His power in our lives making us different like this. Take a look at 1 Timothy 2:1-6 and 1 Peter 3:8-18.
In the US we Christians don’t have reason to complain about persecution because we’re not being persecuted. But whether we’re being outright persecuted or merely inconvenienced, this is a lesson we should all take to heart. We might find it difficult to let unfair treatment happen, but God gives us grace and strength to do what He’s commanded if we will be willing to follow Him. Do what God says, and leave the consequences up to Him.
Pray for Your Leaders
Is This Persecution?
Strikes Me Interesting – Persecution
Present and Future Persecution
The Consequences of Doing God’s Will
Have Faith and Prosper
Suffering for Jesus