Last weekend at church, as I was listening to the reading, something came to mind that I wanted to share. With the Easter season upon us, we naturally read the passage where people began to reject Jesus. But understanding human behavior, Jesus knew this would occur. After all, He was challenging the status quo. He dared to defy the powers that be and this caused anger. He even went so far as to state that His good friend would deny Him three times. Peter, shocked by the claim, truly believed he would stay strong and never deny Jesus. And at the time, I am sure Peter meant it. But once confronted, Peter caved. So what made him lie? Was it public scrutiny, the risk of being persecuted, was he unsure of his recent choices, did he think he did something wrong? Whatever the reason, Peter feared the confrontation. Rather than standing firm, Peter chose to hide, to lie … he denied he was with his friend!
Like Peter, we too must face confrontation. It could be someone asking about a simple matter to something as emotional as questioning a suicide. When asked, what do we do? While some of us might confidently stand firm, most fall into Peter’s trap. We feel anxiety and fear, or even anger. Often, this anger is directed at the one asking the question when in reality, the anger is simply a result of the distress. But we feel unsure, we feel attacked, we feel threatened … and we must fight back! Fearing reprimand, judgment, and condemnation, we become defensive. Consequently, we choose to stay in the darkness of shame and guilt. We may try to ignore it or, using the strength in numbers strategy, we attempt to enlist another to our cause. But at times, like Peter, we will lie. Thankfully, Peter was open enough to realize what had happened
But fear of confrontation is a funny thing. It alters our own thinking and perspective. It convinces us of the lies. It can lead us to minimize or even defend our actions, convinced of our innocence. We may even confuse an apology with an excuse. But maybe we have done nothing wrong … maybe it is not even about being right or wrong … but we will never know. Through defensive anger, we shut down any chance to reflect. The reflection that leads to growth and possibly even change for the better! But why change? After all, things are just fine the way they are. Or are they?
This Easter season may we be more open and willing to face confrontation with a confident and loving heart. May we allow ourselves to think beyond the way things are in the hopes of seeking the way things could be. For when we are open, only good things can come! Wishing you all a wonderful Easter season!!