Sometimes I make the wrong choice. When Nicky (my four-year old) and I go out for frozen yogurt, we like to share a bowl. This isn’t always a good idea. The last time we went out the struggle came down to the last gummy bear. I knew what Jesus would do in the situation. I should have surrendered the helpless little bear. Instead, it came down to a wild west showdown and I was the last man standing. It was the wrong choice. Nicky’s eyes filled up with tears and I felt awful the entire walk home (he has since recovered).
I’m not perfect. Sometimes my actions don’t line up with the truth I hold in my heart. God uses those moments to remind me that He is perfect and I am not. Remembering frees me to get rid of the pedestal I’ve put myself on, forgetting is like dancing on it. A pedestal is a horrible place to dance. One wrong step and you are on the ground. I need a little space to move around, flail my awkward body, and occasionally embarrass myself. A place where because I know a perfect God, I can be imperfect me. On the ground there is room for failure and God uses failure.
Remember Peter’s big failure? After walking with Jesus and witnessing His miracles, he still denied Christ three times (Mark 14:66). Why? Because we all stumble in many ways (James 3:2). Peter was no different. He battled with his flesh just like me and sometimes he made the wrong choice.
When a bad choice knocks you off your pedestal you can either face it and forget it, or remember Jesus and bow down low. Peter broke down and wept:
And He broke down and wept. (Mark 14:72)
That word wept gives the idea of continually crying. You know that feeling of regret where the more you think of something, the more it hurts? That is the kind of place Peter went. Where he is forced to relinquish his pedestal of lies that made him think he would never make a mistake. On the ground Peter had plenty of room to bow down low in repentance.
We all make bad choices (1 John 1:8). But God can use our failure to turn our hearts towards him. Peter wept over his sin and lived out his days as a radical man of faith. Remember Pentecost, 3000 lives changes, Peter got to preach that message (Acts 2:14). When failure leads to repentance, God comes in, takes your weakness, and shows Himself strong on your behalf (2 Cor 12:9).
What are you standing on? If it a pedestal that convinces you, you wont ever make a bad choice, it is lie and God wants to free you from it. There is no shame for those whose heart is for the Lord (Romans 8:1). If you’ve made a bad choice, you can ignore that lying stool and bow down low. God is faithful to forgive (1 John 1:9).
The problem with a pedestal is there is no room to dance. There is no freedom in that.