By James MacDonald, Walk in the Word
For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people (1 Peter 2:15, esv).
We’re all natural-born rebels with a built-in resistance to submission. To complicate matters, the concept of submission has been hijacked by some selfish-minded, even cruel authoritarians who have twisted and distorted the truth for their own purposes. Submission carries so many negative connotations, even the most sincere Christ followers struggle to understand and embrace it.
Yet blessing and favor come to the person who lives in submission. Why? “For this is the will of God” (2:15). God’s will is for us to display lives of submission to authority. Do you think He isn’t watching? He is. When recognized authorities make a decision and you don’t like it, God is very aware of how you respond. His will is “that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” (2:15). Yes, people in authority can be foolish, but in response, God wants to see us “doing good.”
Are you being unfairly treated? It’s by doing good that you will silence the ignorance of foolish people. The word silence actually means “muzzle.” If the thought of putting a muzzle on someone makes you smile, make sure you go about it in the right way. Silencing the foolish happens by living a life of biblical submission—by doing good, regardless of your circumstances.
Think about where God is giving you the opportunity to apply this wisdom:
- Have you been passed over for a promotion at work, something you feel you’ve earned and deserved? Are you angry about political choices, from little slights to outright oversights?
- Has someone betrayed you, turned against you in a relationship, or injured you? How do you weigh your reaction?
- Have you experienced a relational breakdown, with those closest to you judging you harshly? Are you suffering the consequences of their assumptions and misinterpretations?
Whether you’ve been snubbed, maligned, rejected, slandered, or ignored by earthly authorities, do good and silence the ignorance of foolish people.
Submission to authority is like having an umbrella. When we choose to submit, we’re really choosing to put ourselves under God’s protection. That is a wonderful place to live your life. While bad things may be falling out of the sky all around you, submission is a covering, your place of protection. When you step out from under it, you become very vulnerable.
The promises of God do not extend to those who choose to live as rebels. However, when you choose to live under God’s protection by submitting to Him and the authorities He’s placed in your life, His promises and blessings are yours in abundance.
So whether the authorities in your life make wise or foolish choices, whether they treat you justly or unjustly, whether you feel known and appreciated or overlooked and misunderstood, live by these nine words: do good and silence the ignorance of foolish people. God’s counterintuitive strategies have a surprising way of upending the world.