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There we sit in the ruins, replaying the various destructive scenes and moaning at the appropriate times, Â“If only that didnÂ’t happen!Â” Regret clings to our every thought as we struggle to stand with knees made weak by our own choices.
ThatÂ’s where Peter was stuck in his thoughts. Earlier he had so triumphantly announced that Jesus was the Son of the living God. Yes, he was one of those in the Â“inner circleÂ” closest to his Lord. He even miraculously walked on water. And it was to him that Christ talked about that rock upon which His Church would be built.
But he had just denied the very One he earlier declared to be the Messiah, the man he had said he would follow to the very end and even die for. So much for all his big talk. Jesus had heard with His own ears PeterÂ’s strong statements of denial. How could this happen . . . to Peter?
How Could This Happen?
We all have had those feelings. We think, Â“How could I have done that? I know better than this. I should have learned by now.Â” Deep inside we have the defense that we are better than the wrong we committed.
Even the worst criminal has all kinds of reasons and explanations for the mess in which he finds himself. For example, Â“Two GunÂ” Crowley, responsible for murdering many people in the 1930s, was cornered within a building awaiting an inevitable arrest. He wrote a note while the police were firing at him. The note read, Â“Under my coat is a weary heart, but a kind one.Â” Then as he faced capital punishment, he questioned his sentence, saying: Â“This is what I get for defending myself.Â”
In spite of rationalizing and trying to minimize our failure, guilt gnaws at our heart. We sink as we consider what we have done. Yet as followers of God, we know that upon repentance we can experience firsthand His marvelous mercy. Why then do we feel this shadow over us?
Roy Hession puts it so clearly in his book Â“When I Saw HimÂ”: