It has never been easy to be a slave. In the days of the Roman Empire, slaves were called “human tools.” Old or sick slaves could be thrown aside like a worn-out saw.
Sometimes Christian slaves suffered additional indignities because of the antagonism of their pagan masters. The apostle Peter gave those slaves some challenging instructions. He told them to respond to the injustice of their situation with the dignity Christ displayed. They were to take their lead not from their emotions but from Christ’s example in suffering as He went to the cross (1 Pet. 2:20-24).
There is an old story of a Persian prince with a physical deformity that forced him into a constant stoop. The prince had a statue made of himself as he would appear if he were straight and tall. Day after day he stood before the figure and wished he could be like it. According to the legend, the prince eventually stood as straight as the statue.
That tale captures what it means to follow the example of Jesus. Even as those first-century slaves bent under the weight of their inhumane treatment, they could stand as tall as Christ by following the example of their suffering Savior.
Is some injustice bringing you low? Look to your Master! We can stand tall when we stand with Him.
To earthly wisdom honor is as gold,
The strong will rule—the rest must serve instead;
But our Example cut a different mold—
He stooped and bathed the feet of men He led. —Gustafson
Standing tall for Christ means stooping to help others.