What am I like…really?

21 04 2011

With the build up to the royal wedding next week there has been a plethora of lookalike opportunities in the media for those who want to pretend to be someone else.  Some of the results are harmless fun, others in bad taste.  Here’s one you may have missed.

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I’ve lived long enough to think I know myself pretty well, but I was brought up short last week by an incident that showed me up for what I’m really like.  A friend phoned and said some unkind and untrue things to me out of the blue.  It was a difficult conversation and I was left feeling hurt and angry.  The next day she left a message apologising for what she had said.  I had already forgiven her (or so I thought) but just listening to the answerphone prompted the anger to rise again.  Then I thought, ‘I won’t phone her back yet, I’ll let her stew for a bit, let her wonder if I will still be her friend, make her feel really sorry.’  I was shocked at my response and even more angry, not about what my friend had said, but at the bad attitudes that the whole incident had exposed in me.  My expectations for myself were challenged and found wanting.

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I think it was a bit like that for Simon Peter in the section of Luke I’ve been reading this week.  He’s right in there, ready to follow Jesus no matter what – “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” (Luke 22:33)  His opportunity to show his determination comes when the soldiers arrive to arrest Jesus and Peter swings his sword in attack.  But all too soon he is following at a distance, until the agonising moments when he denies that he knows Jesus.  He had great expectations for himself as a follower.  How quickly they were dashed under pressure.  He is not the person he thought he was;he is a lookalike disciple.

Tom Wright reflects on this poignant story –

“We sign on to follow Jesus, and we really mean it…Beginnings are always exciting, if daunting; the midday heat, or the midnight weariness, can drain away our intentions, our energy, our enthusiasm. Few if any Christians will look down on Peter and despise him.  Most of us will think; yes, that’s what it’s like.”

That’s what I’m like…really.

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