“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

I submit to you that this is not a natural way to live. When we are insulted, our natural inclination is to return an insult for an insult. But Jesus chose another way. “As a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). When he stood before Pilate and Herod, and when he faced the jeering mob, he uttered no insults, he made no threats.

When they scourged him, he didn’t retaliate.
When the soldiers pushed the crown of thorns on his head, he didn’t curse at them.
When they drove the nails in his hands and feet, he didn’t threaten them.
When the bystanders spat at him, he didn’t spit back.
When they swore at him, he didn’t swear back.

Peter’s point is this. This will happen to you too. And that’s the real test of your faith. You find out what you really believe when others mistreat you. Sometimes the real test of your faith is what you don’t do. Sometimes you’ll be a better Christian by not saying anything at all.

According to Peter, the footprints of Jesus lead directly to the cross. We are called to follow those bloody footprints even though they lead to mistreatment by the world. What was his secret? How did he do it? The answer lies in the final phrase of verse 23—“He entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” In our day we hear a lot of talk about claiming our rights. That spirit comes into the church and we hear people getting angry and saying, “How dare you trample on my rights?” Most of our problems stem from claiming our rights. But the Bible turns that upside down. You aren’t to think of your rights first. You are to think of others first.

When you are mistreated, repeat these four sentences:

It’s not about me. It’s not about now.
It’s all about God. It’s all about eternity

As you read these words, I encourage you to stop right now and say those four sentences out loud. Write them down on a card, and put the card where you can see it. Try repeating those sentences every day for a week so that the truth will be tattooed on your soul.

Lord God, when I am mistreated, help me to remember that Jesus was mistreated too. May I have his strength to keep my mouth shut lest I say something I’ll regret later. Amen.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.