Right before Jesus is betrayed, taken into custody, tortured, and sent to be crucified… he has this conversation with his followers:
Then Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” Peter said to him, “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” 35Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples. (Matthew 26:31-35)
They were saying… PETER was saying… that they would ‘stay the course’ through ‘thick and thin’. But, instead, they denied Jesus. Look at what Peter does:
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before all of them, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know the man!” At that moment the cock crowed. 75Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:69-75)
‘Denial’ is a big factor in our lives. We deny for many reasons:
- because we don’t want the discomfort of speaking or doing the truth
- because we would rather shift blame and responsibility to others
- because we thin we can ignore the consequences of our actions
However we do it (and for whatever reason) the end result is the same… we continue doing what we know (deep down) is NOT right or true or good because we are afraid of the consequences.
Any shot at spiritual and relational health, fullness, and vitality can only come if we are willing to stand up for what is right, stand up for what we believe, or stand up and admit our short-comings. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the life of faith is ‘the road less travelled’… because denying denial is an absolute requirement.
Intuitively we know this is the case… that admitting, taking responsibility for ourselves, and moving forward in honesty, are essential to a full and healthy life, yet so many of us continue to deny all sorts of things.
Let’s take that brave stand today… not to deny but to admit (whatever that means for each of us) and move forward with the life of faith.