Denial

How do you think it would make you feel if you knew that someone who is your friend was going to betray you? How would you handle the situation? Maybe you would try to catch them in the act. Or maybe you would tell someone else what was going to happen so that you could rally others to your side.

Our human nature can be so bipolar in a situation like that. At one moment you are thinking good thoughts about your friend and then the next moment you are thinking all the situations in the past where you thought maybe your friend has had it in for you all this time. You are mad, frustrated, and maybe it even makes you cry. You don’t know what you did to deserve such betrayal and yet it is happening to you.

Maybe you know what I am talking about. Maybe you have felt this situation. Maybe it was your spouse? Your best friend? Your high school buddy? Your co-worker that you spend every day with at lunch together?

Nothing can wreck your whole perspective on life like being betrayed. It will cause you to lose sleep and become a zombie around others. In situations where you talk a lot, you clam up and don’t say a word.

I’ve been there. I’ve been betrayed by people that I thought were looking out for my best interests. I was naive. I was hurt and discouraged and this was from being a part of a church community where I thought I was safe. What did it do? It caused me to not want to be involved anymore in gatherings. I strayed away from activities and interaction with others. I no longer wanted people to get close to me and to this day this experience has affected how close people get to me.

That’s what happens sometimes when we let ourselves be vulnerable. Exposure to our hearts can be a painful experience when we are betrayed by gossip, adultery, or flat-out lies about our character and motivations.

“Jesus answered him, ‘Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.'” John 13:38

I can’t imagine how hard it was for Jesus to know that Peter was going to deny Him – not once, but three times in a row. Just before that Peter said he would lay his life down for Him.

And yet… pay attention to this… Jesus did not focus on Peter’s future denial. Jesus focused on Peter’s potential for the gospel work.

Isn’t that amazing? How many of us would do the same towards others? Jesus could have grumbled about His situation, but He instead chose to focus on the potential.

And that my friend is what He thinks about you and me.

I don’t know how many times I have denied Him by my actions or lack of action. They are too numerous to count on the hands of a hundred people. And for each and every time I have denied Him, He knew it was coming. But that doesn’t stop Him from thinking about and hoping for my potential.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. You shall be My people, and I will be your God.” The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 29:11; 30:22; 31:3

God is constantly searching for our attention, whether it was Adam and Eve hiding when God said “Where are you?” to when Jacob wrestled with the Lord. He is always seeking, always reaching and we are constantly hiding from Him because of our lack of perception of His loving character.

So for your future failures, this is the message He wants you to know: I know you may fail me, but my love and hope for you will never fail. Rise up and walk. Let’s do this.

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