Everyone walked away. Remarkable. Two vehicles totaled and a minor vehicular casualty, but no one went to the hospital via ambulance. Thank goodness.
As I stood at the side of the road, I remember thinking not only how grateful I was that I and my vehicle were spared from major damage, but also that I had a responsibility to respond in a way that is pleasing to Christ. Yeah, there I was on the side of the road, watching the clean-up, worried about if I was going to be able to pick up my daughter from volleyball practice on time (I didn't) and whether or not my van would be drivable enough to get me to work over the next couple of days (It is). I was worried about the others involved in the accident, but once I was assured they were okay, I was terribly annoyed. I knew there would be a lot of hassle involved (there is). Even in the midst of all that, uppermost in my mind was that I needed to honor the Lord in my response to this accident. Who could possibly see me respond in a Christlike fashion?
After all, I didn't speak to anyone much, mostly because I was still in shock and trying to take periodic assessment of my person and my van. I did ask several of those involved if they were okay and I did answer questions from the police officer and firemen. But I was afraid of communicating too much and allowing my annoyance to show through . . . A-hem.
Pretty is as Pretty Does
as I live it. As I was conversing with them, I made a statement that was rather unfortunate.
As soon as the statement was completely out of my mouth (and before I knew I had been overheard), I thought of Peter. As in Biblical Peter. Yeah, Simon Peter. The "I would never deny you," and then he did exactly that, Peter. Yeah, him.
Now, I know, at least a little bit what drove Peter. The shock and emotions of relief, annoyance, and incredulity were so overwhelming during that conversation with my parents that though I knew the words were about to leave my lips, I didn't stop them. I didn't want to stop them. I wanted to feel the heat of them on my tongue. I wanted to feel the weight of them as they hung in the air. I wanted to punish the person of whom I was speaking. I imagine Peter must have felt much the same way, only to a much greater degree.
It was in that moment that I could relate to him in a way that I've never been able to before. I have always wondered how he could deny Christ. Wow, the emotion that must have roiled inside him enough to deny the one person he called Master and said he loved most. It may be a stretch to compare the two situations, mine and Peter's, but they are both dishonoring . . .
When I was little, my grandma was fond of saying, "Pretty is as pretty does." To which I now respond, "Ouch." My words certainly were not honoring the Lord. And they were a terrible example to my children in that moment. The three people who are my prime witnesses as to how I live my life.
Under Construction - Yes, Still
Do you know, that one of the angels at the tomb spoke of Peter specifically? After Peter denied Christ in his His most heart-wrenching moments, the angel commanded Mary to speak of Christ's resurrection and said, "Go and tell the others and Peter." Wow. That is some kind of forgiveness. I have that same kind of forgiveness. The best way I know to show others how much I appreciate His forgiveness is to live it out in such a way that my responses to life's ups and downs is to honor Him. Hopefully, in the next situation, I will respond better.
Peter did. In fact, after his forgiveness, he was no longer the emotional, out of control follower of Christ. Rather, he became a strong, steadfast disciple that lead many to Christ.
Admittedly, I am a work in progress. But my goal is to become more Christlike. Honoring Him is the best way I know to do that.
Do you know you can have that same forgiveness? Regardless of how you have lived your life up to this moment in time, He will forgive you, if you ask out of a heart that is determined to do a 180*. And you don't even have to do a 180* all at once, nor do you have to do it alone. He will help you, little by little to live a more God honoring life. See, the thing is, we are ALL a work in progress because we all fall short. But once we accept Him, He sees us through the lens of his Son, Jesus. What a tremendous, undeserved gift.
Won't you consider Him today?