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Saturday, April 20, 2013

I Am Peter

Feet of clay.

That's what I'm walking around in, again.

I suppose it's good for me, as I've been accused more than once of being self-righteous. Holier than thou. I've protested vehemently, of course, citing my attempts at self-honesty and transparency, my refusal to be one of those Christians who wears a perfect face (far from it), while underneath the mask, temptations and dark emotions abound.

I found out recently just how far from perfect I am. The situation, in broad terms, was that I participated in a transaction with several other people, none of whom were professing Christians. Therefore, this was the perfect opportunity to shed some holy light, right? Wrong. Instead of acting honorably, this child of God suggested, shall we say, shortcuts that made the other parties uncomfortable. When objections were raised, I politely argued my position and persuaded the others to go against their better judgment - and I do mean better judgment - and dance to my tune.

Shortly after the business was completed, the Lord prompted me to step back and evaluate my behavior. I didn't like what I saw. How, I wondered, could I make this situation right, after I had led others down a wrong path? The deed was done. To fully rectify the situation might have put the others involved at risk; I knew that wasn't the way to go.

I repented, even as I walked around for several days with a layer of guilt the size of  the Sahara (and feeling about as barren). I asked God how I could fix this mess that I and I alone had gotten myself into. I kept feeling like the offender in Matthew 18:6, the one who would be better off taking a swim with a millstone anchored to his neck than to lead innocents astray.

After much prayer and soul searching, the answers came. I apologized to both parties and admitted I was wrong. I also committed in my heart to pray for a third person who may have been collaterally damaged as a result of my dealings in this matter. I'm asking God to provide bountifully to meet this person's needs. Finally, since I couldn't undo what had been done, a couple of dear Christian sisters helped me arrive at a quiet way of making amends to the Lord (for it was He whom I offended most).

Many lifetimes ago, a fisherman in the Middle East made a terrible decision. Like me, he strived to be faithful, but came to a crossroads where following Christ might lead to suffering. Like me, he  denied the one who could deliver him and instead tried to save himself. That same fisherman later penned this heartfelt plea, which now resonates with me more than when I held myself in Pharisaically high esteem:

 "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;  and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins."

2 Peter 1:5-9

I also feel the impact of 1 John 1:9 as never before.

Check out: Morsels for Meditation...: I Am Peter Part 2