When should we seek to escape punishment?
This essay is on the question in the title. When, if ever, should we seek to escape punishment? I will attempt to answer this question by asking a series of questions, intended to determine the circumstances in which we could seek to escape punishment. I will do this in the light of scripture, making sure that the answer aligns with God’s word. As always, feel free to comment and give me your honest opinion. I would like to know if I missed anything.
First, are we receiving too much punishment? If we are, we should peacefully attempt to lessen the amount of punishment we are receiving. We should never attempt anything by force.
Next, we should consider whether anybody will be harmed by our escaping our punishment. Take, for example, the case of Paul and Silas (Acts 16). We usually pay attention to the fact that they were still worshipping God in prison, and while that is a good thing, we also should look at the fact that they remained in prison even after the earthquake which made a way out for them. They did this because the jailer would have been killed had they been found missing.
Last, and most important, we should remember that when God or one of his angels explicitly tell us to go, we should go. Take the example of Peter in Jerusalem (Acts 6). The angel came to him and freed him, so of course he took it as a sign from God that he should leave. We should remember to follow God’s desire in all circumstances. If the circumstance arises that you have the oppurtunity to be freed, you should consider the effect on your witness.