Thursday, July 26, 2018

Before the Rooster Crows

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. Then 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 
We are often too quick to condemn, considering we haven't lived in the circumstances and realities of others. Folks make what looks to us like a bad judgement and we call them weak. We humans, when faced with violence and loss of life rarely act from a conscious, rational or faithful brain. We react from our mammal brain that is hardwired to fight, freeze or take flight. When an individual is tested at a life-threatening level they will almost always say that they weren't thinking but just acted. 
Peter was reacting from fear so real and deep that he denied Jesus. His heart was broken when he realized what he did. The fear, so tactile, ran his body that day as it does for all of us humans at times. Our training can take over if we are special forces or military. Most often fear gets the upper hand and we are frightened animals. For me, it is important to imagine how terrifying and overwhelming that scene was. Peter, wanting to get close to his friend, draws too close and is about to be outed. Peter is forgiven, Peter, who denies him, becomes the head of the church and the one who Jesus, at his resurrection, tells the women to go and find. Our human responses to horrible situations are forgiven as well, every day. God knows how treacherous life can be for us frail human beings, no matter how strong and determined we might think ourselves to be.
Today, I ask God to help me forgive as I have been forgiven and to set aside judgment of others. May we all realize the frailty of our lives and gently respond to those hurting and broken around us.

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