Mark 14.66-72 CEB: Meanwhile, Peter was below in the courtyard. A woman, one of the high priest’s servants, approached and saw Peter warming himself by the fire. She stared at him and said, “You were also with the Nazarene, Jesus.”
But he denied it, saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t understand what you’re saying.” And he went outside into the outer courtyard. A rooster crowed.
The female servant saw him and began a second time to say to those standing around, “This man is one of them.” But he denied it again.
A short time later, those standing around again said to Peter, “You must be one of them, because you are also a Galilean.”
But he cursed and swore, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.” At that very moment, a rooster crowed a second time. Peter remembered what Jesus told him, “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down, sobbing.
I’ve been here before. When I read this passage, I sure feel like Peter. The feeling that I’ve have completely let down Christ. The fact that I was so adamant that I would make it through, and then, like Peter, I failed. What I hate is that this seems to happen more times than I like to admit. I feel that I am constantly messing it up, letting people down, putting myself before others. And all the while, Jesus is in the background, watching me.
As we know, this isn’t the end of the story for Peter. But, let’s not rush ahead. We need to be in this moment, his moment, our moment of failure. Our moment of not being there when it’s needed most. All to often today, we brush past our failures and just ‘press on’ forgetting the past. Certainly we can’t change the past, but that doesn’t erase the hurt and pain we may have caused. Furthermore, it doesn’t remove the guilt some of us feel when we blow it. I can remember all of my faults like they are fresh wounds. And sometimes, sometimes I am overwhelmed. Again, like Peter, I break down, sobbing. There is this sense that people say, ‘Grow up and get over it.’ That works for a few people. But most of us have to deal with the pain and anger and resentment and, yes, even the guilt. And it’s that guilt that is the hardest of all, I think. It’s that guilt that can be the blackest and deepest kind of pain. The ones we have hurt may have moved on but we still have to live with what we have done (or didn’t do in Peter’s case).
But the healing comes. Gradually, yes. For a long time, yes. But, hopefully, it will come. But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes we have a death-grip on our guilt and we won’t let it go. It has so consumed us that it almost becomes our defining aspect. Not always. But sometimes...sometimes our guilt can be so strong that we continue to lash out at those we love and hurt them. Like a wounded animal bites and fights those who are trying to rescue it, we attack others whom are trying to help us. Sometimes...sometimes we just need to be alone with our pain and guilt and cry it out. Let it go. We can’t and won’t let it go until we’re ready. But healing won’t come until we first admit to our mistakes and our short comings and, yes, our sins. So, for the moment, we have to own it. It has to be ours. We have to take the full weight of what we have done upon our shoulders. Only then, can we seek help. Only then can we find rescue in the arms of Christ. Only then can we lift our heads out of despair and cry for freedom.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br Jack+, LC