Peter denied Christ and so have I
Holy week and I’ve taken it upon myself to identify with Peter… Peter, the disciple that denied Christ three times after he was adamant he never would. Yeah, that guy and I have a lot in common.
In the past year, and maybe longer, I keep getting stuck on a word. It’s a word that is often used yet when I think of God, prayer, change, asking, listening, etc. it’s not a word I want to use. It still creeps in, yet more and more I pause when I hear myself saying it. I pause because it makes me wonder how we, including emphatically me, limit or minimize God. I don’t intend to limit or minimize Him or the lengths he goes to express his love, but I find myself doing it. The word I have been frustrated with is “Just”. Lord, please just bring some comfort in this pain. Please just get me though the next meeting. Lord I just want to have a little clarity, hope, joy, energy, or patience. I am just amazed by your love Lord. It seemed just like a miracle. Let’s just pray for second before we start (Bible study, a meal, a game, talk, etc.).
When I say or hear the world “JUST” in these phrases I wonder how I/we may be limiting how I/we view God or how we anticipate he will respond to me/us. If I “just” want comfort am I disregarding that God can and may bring miraculous healing? What about God intervening in a meeting so that the results are incredibly positive? I don’t want just a little clarity, hope, joy, energy, or patience I want and need a lot of it. I also am not just amazed by His love; I am overwhelmed and at times speechless. Just a miracle… really isn’t that an oxymoron of sorts? “Just” praying…. Isn’t praying foundational to engage our lives to something and someone greater, more powerful, loving, and holy than ourselves? Aren’t we, when we pray, about to engage with a God who is about forgiveness, redemption, and transformation? Emphatically Yes!
Yet the word seeped out of my mouth, much to my dismay. I had had a good meeting with a young adult and his parents. They were all positive after the meeting and were feeling heard. It was a small win. The father commented on my ring at the end of the meeting asking what it was. I wear a simple silver ring with a cross on the ring finger of my right hand. My response, “It’s just a cross.” No sooner the words came out and I thought, “Just a cross, really is that all I think of this symbol I intentionally wear?” The cross is foundational to who I am, what I believe and how I aim to live my life. I was afraid to engage in conversation with this parent, I wanted to evade a discussion. I did evade a discussion. I know this man’s values and lifestyle are drastically different than my own. He embraces a lifestyle that Christian’s are often known to judge, and even fight against. Yet he felt heard in our meeting and asked me a straightforward question. It was a Peter moment for me. No sooner the words “just a cross” came out and I thought, “I denied Christ.” In that moment the words I had read in Mark 14 in the morning had tremendous meaning and conviction.
I’m working it through… like Peter there is a conversation that I have been having with Jesus about this. I am overwhelmed that God sent his son Jesus to live, die on a cross, and overcome death and sin for me. My hope is to honor him with my whole life and I don’t consider often how I deny Christ. Like Peter though, when asked about something and someone foundational to who I am, I denied the cross, abandoned Christ and the relationship I have. This time I recognized the denial but I don’t want to miss the other times I don’t acknowledge my relationship with Jesus and who God is.
I did not just deny Christ… I did deny him. He did not just forgive my sins he is continually forgiving them and redeeming them for His purposes and glory.