Never say never:
Yes, that is the name of the fabulous song by teen sensation, Justin Bieber and tween sensation, Jaden Smith. It is also really is a great song to work out to. Anyways, besides that being the title to a wonderful song, there is an important spiritual message in the ideas of “never say never.”
See, the thing about life is, you really don’t know what you will do until you are in the situation. Yet, all the time, especially Christians, love to talk about the things they would “never” do. We would: never steal, never lie, never commit adultery, never kill anyone, never cheat on a test, never swear, never become a prostitute, never become a drug addict, and the list of our “nevers” is endless.
Parents, don’t you remember all your “I never’s” before you had children? I will never let my child eat McDonalds. I would never let my child watch television every day. I would never let my child misbehave in public. Yeah, how’s that working out for you? My guess is that we, all of us, alter, our “never” list the longer we live life and encounter obstacles. It is easy to say what you will never do when you are comfortable, well fed, have a job, happy marriage, and the world smells like roses. The real test comes when we deal with the inevitable messy, crazy, disfunction of life.
The irony of life, is that WE ALL do things that we thought we would “never” do. What I love about Jesus, is that he knows when we are going to do those things we “never” would do, and he loves us anyways. Even when we do horrendous, evil, acts that we swore we would never do, God already knew. More importantly, He will forgive and love us.
As we approach lent, I think about Peter, one of Jesus most trusted disciples. My pastor refers to Peter, as the “ride or die” friend we all have. You know the one who just says whatever is on their mind but will always be there for you.
So we all know that Peter and Jesus had a very close relationship. In fact, whenever Jesus went into strategic meetings with his inner circle, Peter was there. Ok, so Jesus tells his friend, Peter, that Peter will betray him. Not once, not twice, but three times. Peter declares, probably with all sincerity his never. He said, ” Even, if I have to die, I will “never” disown you.”
Not to give away the story but Peter does exactly what he promised Jesus said he would “never” do, he disowned him three times.
But here is the good news, Jesus knew that his friends, his close friends would betray him, and knowing that, he still sat down and supper with them. Not only did he eat with them, he washed their feet! The people who would betray him. He loved them, he ate with them, he even washed their feet. Because his love wasn’t dependent on them being perfect. His love wasn’t dependent on them being sin-free. His love was unconditional. Most of us have things we have done that are ashamed of (if you don’t yet, keep living, you’ll get one) and the good news is that Jesus loves us then. Jesus loves us when we sin, Jesus loves us when we mess up, because His love is unconditional.
That’s good news. As we approach Easter, I pray that we all are able to do two things: First, understand that Jesus already knows when we are going to mess up and He loves us, will have dinner with us, and even wash our feet, during the time when we feel the most unloveable. Second, that Jesus commandment to his disciples and his followers (i.e. you and me) was to “love one another as I love you.” Again, most of us have people who have done evil, horrible, hurtful things, (if not, keep living, it will happen), let’s pray to have the spirit of Christ and to forgive and love people unconditionally.
I’m not sure I’m ready to clean the feet of those who have hurt me, but I pray that God grants me the spirit of forgiveness. Have a wonderful weekend and I love you all!
‘This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (John 15:12 NLT)
Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. (Matthew 26:33-35 NIV)