When is the last time you messed up? Maybe it was something big, maybe was just a little something, but we all mess up in life from time to time, don’t we?
This week, I was talking with a couple of people at work and that night I started thinking about the conversation. The next day I went to each of them and said, “I want to apologize, I said something negative and I shouldn’t have.”Each of them said, “That’s OK, we didn’t think anything about it.” That little incident cost me nothing, reminded me of the value of watching what I said and let others know that as a Christian I have certain values.
In the gospel record of Christ’s arrest before his crucifixion we read of his disciple Peter’s actions. You are probable aware of how he denied even know Jesus, not once, but three times. How would you like to be remembered for that?
In John 21 Jesus comes to the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee about a week after his death, burial and resurrection. He serves them breakfast and has one of his more famous discussions with Peter. He asks Peter, “Do you love me,” not just once, but three times. Now think about the situation. He was sitting there around the fire having breakfast with all of the other disciples. Each of those men knew that Peter had denied Jesus.
What was worse is that just a week before this we have the following conversation recorded for EVERYONE to see and remember: “Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts You, I will never desert you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter; this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know Me “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with You, I will never deny You!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.” (Matthew 26:33-35)
Wow, how embarrassing would that be now as he is sitting there with Jesus at breakfast! Jesus. In the end Peter couldn’t bear it, he just bows his head, heart broken, and says, “Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, You know everything. You know that I love You.” Jesus said, “Then feed My sheep.” Jesus was saying, “then live like you mean it, like you really, really love me!” (John 21:17)
You see, that is what Jesus is asking of us every day. He knows we are going to mess us, but we need to own up to it even if it is embarrassing, ask for forgiveness and then get on with serving God. It maybe some little thing or it could be some big thing… it doesn’t matter. Make it right no matter how embarrassing and get on with living like you really love God. The apostle John, who saw all of this take place, wrote in 1John 1:8-9, “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. Maybe it is time to stop being embarrassed and start making things right with God and your fellow men.
Russ Lawson is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with his column Today’s Challenges. He is semi-retired and an elder at the Mid-County Church of Christ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.