The final post on “The Top Ten Worst Bible Passages” series belongs to 1 Peter 2:18; “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.”
Christ himself was a servant. A servant to mankind that took the severest punishment for doing nothing wrong. Most of mankind are servants and slaves in one way or another, especially in the time of the Roman Empire when the text in question was written. The lessons to be learned and the wisdom to be gained from the Bible is timeless, however. Even if we do not see ourselves in master-salve relationships, to some extent, our culture still exists under a hierarchal system of boss and subordinate. One gives orders and oversees while the other acts upon instruction. I am a servant to my employer. It is true I can quit if I feel the boss is overly burdensome or cruel, but at the expense of potential hardships of losing a job, having no money to pay bills, and less money to buy food.
While God is a loving and forgiving God he is also a strict Father that wishes to mold and instruct His children. God wishes, hopes and perhaps expects His children to be the best. He does not, however, require perfection. Jesus was the servant that bore the role of perfection under the harsh roman rulers who hung Him on a cross. Yes, God may expect us to bear as much as we can under the harsh, cruel, or even perverse rule of a master, boss, or superior, but the chore is not without reward or benefit. The benefits are multifaceted. First the subordinate acts as a witness of Christ like love and behavior to the wise or the idiotic superior. To the slave there is also benefit. Perhaps the most famous slaves of all time were the Israelites under Egyptian rule. For over four-hundred years the Jews bore many cruel hardships under often sadistic Egyptian masters. But the God of the Jews commanded them to obey and bide their time. All the while the Jews grew and prospered in the Egyptian empire until God was ready to free them. The Pharaoh only became more harsh as the day of freedom came closer. But the Jews remained faithful respectful servants. When they were eventually miraculously freed, they were greater in numbers and more prosperous than ever before. The evil Egyptian masters were not willing to repay their slaves with the same respect and ethics the slaves had shown them for four-hundred years, and set out to kill them all, but instead were conquered and humiliated by God himself.
Guess what – no one ever said it was easy being a Christian. If you want easy in this life, go for it. Ignore the seemingly hard and harsh words of the Bible and live as you will. But at some point there will be a price to be paid. We live under the authority of God now and forevermore or we live under our own authority and hope that we can design our own afterlife to our liking. Good luck with that. I for one will continue to run the race. It’s often hard, but more often it is filled with joy, surprises, and promises kept.
Guess what again – if I had a harsh and cruel master I would probably quit, run away, or seek his ultimate destruction. Actually, I have no idea what I would do. God has never tested me in that area. But the Bible does say that God will not give us more than we can handle. So perhaps my constitution is weak and therefore I’ve not had to endure that kind of hardship. I can only hope that I would endure and prosper the way God would like, but regardless of what I would do, I know what God has already done. He died for me so that when I do fail the test and run away from the harsh master, he will forgive and love me anyway.
I hope you have learned something you might not have thought about previously while reading this series of posts. I really felt called to point out the fallacies associated with people’s superficial reading of the Bible – especially in regards to the internet’s “Top Ten List”. The Bible is my authority and therefore I strive daily to understand and gain wisdom from the Words inspired therein. I know there are many others who have done a more thorough job of discussing Biblical text and I will continue to seek their words of wisdom and I hope you will as well. I pray you have been and will be blessed after taking the time to read these posts. I’m not sure what will spark me to write next, but whatever it is I hope you will be back.
“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” Proverbs 9:10