Claustrophobia of Living for Self & Others
When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
— 1 Peter 2.23
What does Peter mean when he says Jesus “…continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly”? Simply put, Peter means that Jesus was so strong that he could be weak. Most people need to feel really strong because they are afraid to be weak. We have a claustrophobia that occurs when we live for self and for other people. The Christian faith, however, says that Jesus as well as Christians are so strong that we can be weak.
Who was Peter’s original audience? Peter wrote this letter to suffering and scattered Christians. These Christians were not in positions of authority. They had been abused and mistreated. Peter, nonetheless, was so bold as to write: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten…” Peter probably remembered Isaiah’s words. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53.7). Jesus Christ showed us how to live weak lives by not returning abuse for abuse. Jesus said: “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven…” (Matthew 5.11-12). Jesus and Peter obviously did not suffer from claustrophobia of living for self and others.
Additionally, the apostle Paul wrote a letter to people who were full of pride. They hungered for power and control. Paul wrote these unbelievable words to them. “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me” (1 Corinthians 4.3-4). Paul did not suffer from claustrophobia of living for self or others, because he was living for the Sovereign Savior and Shepherd—Jesus Christ! Jesus is the final Judge.
What does this mean for us? We need to continue entrusting ourselves to him who judges justly. How can we do it? God the Holy Spirit has to expand our heads and hearts to trust that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12.9).
Do you have a bad case of claustrophobia of living for self and others? If so, become weak today and expose yourself to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus was very God and very man, and yet he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
“For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12.10).