The term "awful" arose out of the Middle Ages, invented to signify the everburning hell that many people in the world believed then and still believe. This ever-burning hell was "awful." "Awful" describes peoples' feelings about being cast into that place.
The truth is that there is no ever-burning hell. Is there anything, any situation, any circumstance that is truly awful? What is the most awful thing that has ever happened on earth? The most awful thing that ever happened on earth was the murder of God in the flesh. Absolutely, totally, innocent, vulnerable, He was a lamb led to the slaughter, and He allowed them to kill Him without defending Himself. Our Creator—put to death—was the worse thing that ever happened on earth.
How does anything that has ever happened to us measure up against that? This is why God points to this example. Christ did not revile. He kept His mouth shut. He committed Himself, by faith, to Him that judges righteously.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Spiritual Mark of the Beast
This shows shows Christ's example, even when He had the love, wisdom, and discernment to judge righteous judgment and correctly put His enemies in their place. So strong was Jesus' commitment to these principles that, even when His life was on the line, and His enemies reviled Him intensely, He did not respond in kind. He set us an example to do likewise.
Perhaps the key statement is He "committed Himself to Him who judges rightly." His response was an act of faith in God's awareness of His situation and God's perfect ability not merely to act but to act in exactly the right way for the good of all. The reality of God's sovereignty over His creation led to Jesus' minute-by-minute faithful submission.
If vengeance belongs to God, then men, especially those who have pledged their lives to be subject to His government, have no right to take it to themselves. Very frequently, it takes real strength of character, bolstered by faith, to help and serve someone who has directly tried to harm us. God's instructions to us are clear: "'Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:20-21).
"Enemy" does not mean one we hate, but one who is bitter toward us. If we hate others, we are right back in the spirit of murder. Paul is stating a critical universal principle: Over time, kindness removes enmity, but seeking revenge increases it. Booker T. Washington said, "The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend."
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sixth Commandment (Part One) (1997)
The world will not submit to God, which is why the world is in the state that it is! Rather than submit to God, men seek to gratify - or satisfy - their desires. The pattern began early, when Lucifer did it, resulting in war with God! Then came Adam and Eve, who also did not submit to God. God said, "You may eat of all of the trees in the Garden" - there may have been hundreds of them - "but there is that one there of which I do not want you to eat." Instead, they followed their own desire, taking from the very tree God said not to eat. This, of course, brought them into conflict with God!
The Christian is called to suppress his lusts. It is not wrong to have desire, but it is wrong not to suppress the lust that can lead a person to exceed his own authority and therefore bring himself into a state of disobedience or non-submission to the authority that God permits in this world.
So to this we were called. We are to be among the first harvest, which will include all of those people, beginning with righteous Abel, who submitted to God rather than man. They did what they did for the same reason that we will do what we will do - we all see God ruling His creation and know that our first priority in life is to submit to Him!
Jesus Christ, Peter says, committed Himself to Him who judges righteously. Jesus knew that Pilate was wrong. He knew that Ananias was wrong and that all the Sanhedrin was wrong. But He submitted to death and to the authority that was constituted by God in those men. He knew there would be a judgment. Those men will be judged for what they did by the very God that Christ, by faith, submitted to. He let God make the decision as to whether He was doing what was right or whether Ananias and Pilate were doing what was right. He did not resist the government, but allowed them to take His life. The resurrection proves that Jesus was right. The resurrection shows God's judgment because He vindicated His Son.
I hope we get the point: God will vindicate us by a resurrection because we submit to Him and to His way even though we may be caught in the evil of abusive people in positions of power - whether husband, employer, local police, or national government.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Submitting (Part 2)
Jesus teaches self-denial to His disciples not only with His words but also by His actions. Notice that His call to self-denial comes immediately after predicting His own sacrificial death. He is the supreme model of the self-denial to which He calls others. He even denies Himself any urge to avenge Himself or to threaten His persecutors for what they had done to Him. In Jesus' example, we see that, by committing ourselves to God who judges rightly, we deny ourselves the temptation of worldly lusts.
Martin G. Collins
Overcoming (Part 5): Self-Denial
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing 1 Peter 2:22:
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
1 Peter 1:10-11