Freedom House Church and Healing Centre

You have the right to remain silent

You who are servants, be good servants to your masters—not just to good masters, but also to bad ones. What counts is that you put up with it for God’s sake when you’re treated badly for no good reason. There’s no particular virtue in accepting punishment that you well deserve. But if you’re treated badly for good behavior and continue in spite of it to be a good servant, that is what counts with God.

This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.

He never did one thing wrong,Not once said anything amiss.

They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence,

content to let God set things right.” (1Peter 2:18-23 MSG)

“I deserve to…”; “I have the right to…”; “I’m entitled to…”; Are you getting a little tired of all the protests, threats of strikes and people demanding justice and equality. Don’t I have the right to a little peace and quiet! Here is Good News! We are all equal in God’s eyes, all made in His image; there is no partiality with God – let’s stop the fighting! This hedonistic, self-centered world we live in is driven by, “what I can get to serve my needs…”; it is self-serving. Yet, for the follower of Jesus, to be great in the Kingdom is to be a servant (Mk. 10:42-45). Now that is a radical concept – serve others instead of demanding to be served. Peter lived in the first half of the first century Roman Empire, made up of some 60,000,000 slaves – that’s sixty million slaves! He knew what servitude was all about. The early church was made up of some of these servants (domestic servants in households is the term used here). Some were even leaders in the church! But, if we are all equal in Christ (Gal. 3:28), why does a servant have to continue to submit to a “slave master”? It is even more difficult if the servant of the master is a leader of the church to which the master belongs. Life is never simple, and in this case it was a real problem. Holy Spirit wrote a lot on the topic of slavery in the New Testament (Philemon, Titus 2:9-10; Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:22-4:1; 1Tim. 6:1-2; 1Cor. 7:20-24). The passage here in 1Peter may be the best response since it points us back to Jesus. To be a slave/servant is to be like Christ – it is the life to which we were called. Just take a moment to read the passage in multiple translations to fully understand what Holy Spirit is trying to say.

First, “You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel” (1Pet. 2:18 NLT). Unconditional submission! Impossible! “Peter…what are you saying? What about my right to…?” You can see why passages like this are so hard to apply to our culture today. But the next verse says, “For God is pleased when, conscious of His will, you patiently endure unjust treatment” (1Pet. 2:19 NLT). Are we living to please “Me” or God? Remember when God said to submit to every human authority (1Pet. 2:13). “Enduring unjust treatment” is part of the Christian life – it makes God happy. And in case we didn’t understand it, Holy Spirit repeats it again: “But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you” (1Pet. 2:20 NLT) So the first reason we submit to unjust treatment from bosses, authorities, leaders, etc. is because it pleases God. Isn’t that what all of us want to do? Let’s start by trying to submit to our earthly leaders…except when that contradicts God’s word. Even as I write this, I feel a “but what about…” rising up inside me! I want to defend myself! That’s the part of us that really needs to come under control of Holy Spirit – the right to always want to defend my self, my actions, my words.

Secondly, we are to follow in the footsteps of our Master, even Jesus, whom we emulate: “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” (1Pet. 2:21 NLT) Jesus is our example – He endured criticism, harassment, abuse, beatings, and even death, as a lamb sent to slaughter: “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” (1Pet. 2:23 NLT). Jesus exercised His right to remain silent. Have you heard of the “Miranda Warning”. It is what police say to criminals they arrest, as seen on television: “You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” It is the right of every citizen of the United States, when accused of a crime – the right to remain silent. Tied with that is the right to invoke the Fifth Amendment (plead the fifth). It allows an individual being accused before a court of law to not say anything that will incriminate them, literally refusing to answer questions. Silence – it’s golden! The right to remain silent! That is a right few of us exercise, present company included (that’s me). I am guilty of wanting to defend myself with words. I have gotten better over the years, but there is still a desire for verbal self-defence. It really is a battle sometimes! The issue is really an issue of faith – do I trust God enough to be my defense lawyer, and bring justice to me. If I don’t, I will want to defend myself. If I do, I will remain silent before my accusers, and place my hope in God. Oh Lord! Help me exercise my right to remain silent! Give me more faith to trust You to handle my defense.

Blessed are the silent! (1Pet. 4:14-16; Matt. 5:11-12; 1Cor. 4:11-13; 1Sam.18:6-11; 19:9-10)

Have a great week!

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