Few of us have been in a pit deeper than Peter’s. Which is ironic, because just an hour or two before, he was high on the pinnacle and far from the pit. In John 18:10 we read, “Simon Peter, who had a sword, pulled it out, and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.”
I think Peter expected a fight. I think he was stunned when Jesus told him to put away his sword. Next thing Peter knows, the Savior and the soldiers are headed down the hill and Peter is alone with his decision. Does he stick close to Jesus or duck in the shadows? He decides to do neither. Scripture tells us that Peter followed Jesus and His captors from a distance. Near enough to see Him, but not near enough to be seen with Him. Love made Peter ashamed to run; fear made him ashamed to draw near. Peter would have been better off if he had run away. Or, he would have been better off in the courtyard with His master. Instead, Peter warmed his hands on the devil’s fireside. A young girl recognized him and asks, “Aren’t you one of that Man’s followers?” He denies it! With each denial Peter inches closer to the edge of the canyon… until the ground gives way and he falls.
Have you been there? Have you felt the ground of conviction give way beneath your feet? The ledge crumbles, your eyes widen, and down you go. Now what do you do? Many live their lives in the shadows. Many never return. Some dismiss their deeds. “Well, everybody has a little slip now and then.” Some deny their deeds. “Fall? Me? Are you kidding? These aren’t bruises. These are cuts. I’m as healthy as I’ve ever been. Me to blame. It’s his fault. It’s her fault. It’s society’s responsibility. If the people hadn’t asked me, I wouldn’t have answered. Don’t point the finger at me.”
When we fall, we can dismiss it. We can deny it. We can distort it. Or we can deal with it. Let’s stay so close to Jesus that we readily tell others that we are His disciples and invite them to become one as well. That is the best way to eliminate guilt and live in grace!