Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day 27—Don't Let Your Guard Down

            Have you ever thought you finally got it all together, but then the moment you let your guard down, everything falls apart?  If you and your family are anything like most others, then your family has been touched by such a scenario.

            What does the Bible say? 
            The setting is the Last Passover Supper Jesus had with his disciples.   

            Matthew 26:21—"And while they were eating, he said, 'I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.'"

            Matthew 26:33-35—"Peter replied, 'Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.'
            'I tell you the truth,' 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.'…"
            Then Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  He instructed the three disciples who went with him (including Peter) to stay in one spot to keep watch and pray while He prayed alone. 

            Matthew 26:40—"Then he (Jesus) returned to his disciples and found them sleeping.  'Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?' He asked Peter.  'Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.'"

            This happened three times before the chief priests and a detachment of soldiers arrived to arrest Jesus. In the panic of the moment—and after awaking suddenly from falling asleep again—

            John 18:10—"Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear.  (The servant's name was Malchus.)

            Basically, Jesus healed the servant's ear and agreed to go with them peacefully.  With this, the disciples essentially fled, but Peter and another servant followed the captive at a distance.  Three different times, people in the court of the high priest accused Peter of being a friend and/or follower of the man just arrested.  Peter vehemently denied it.

            Matthew 26:74-75—"Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, 'I don't know the man!'  Immediately, a rooster crowed.  The Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: 'Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.'  And he went outside and wept bitterly."

When we let our guard down, that is when we slip.
            What does all this have to do with you?  Peter was positive he would not betray Jesus.  He was committed to his leader and ready for action.  His first near slip-up occurred when he kept falling asleep in the garden.  However, he was ready to "show his stuff" because, as soon as the soldiers appeared, he jumped to action and cut off one of the servant's ears.  In his mind, Peter still believed he would stand strong for Jesus, but he did not plan on a "non-attack."  I'm talking about the relaxed, only mildly intimidating scene in the priest chief's courtyard.  It was filled with servants and others who had little or no authority.  Peter felt safe lingering there and even getting close enough to one of the open fires to get warm.  Surprisingly, he felt safe enough for casual chit chat with the servants.   That is when subtle accusations regarding Peter's relationship to Jesus of Nazareth began.  Peter did not see these little comments as threats or dangerous.  That is when he let his guard down.  That is when he did what he vowed he would not do.  That is when he denied his master.

            How about you?  Have you made a "commitment" that you were completely convinced you would fulfill and then something slipped and you failed?  If you have not done it yet, you will.  Peter did not screw up when he was alert and on guard; he failed when he thought he was "safe."

            Your Turn—How do you translate this to your kids?  The good news is that you will have many real-life opportunities to discuss this as they (and you) live out your own examples of this same human failure.  The bad news is that you will have many real-life opportunities to discuss this as they (and you) live out your own….you get the picture.

            Explain to your children that sometimes the most "dangerous" times they might fall into sin (or letting someone else down) is when they feel like they do not have to worry about doing anything wrong.  Depending on the age of your children, they are likely not to understand any of this until they experience this type of failure.  Unfortunately, they will probably get many chances to fail like this.  Then they will begin to understand the truth of it.  Even so, if they are like the rest of us, they will never quite get past this one while they walk this earth.  Sorry, to give you the bad news.

            BUT, be sure to finish the story.  Peter was sorry that he denied Jesus.  Consequently, Jesus forgave him and did not hold it against Peter.   That same forgiveness is available to all of us.  Consequently, we should be willing to extend that kind of forgiveness to others.  We are going to fail, but we do not have to dwell on that failure.  Instead, we can accept the gift of forgiveness, and we can understand and forgive this type of failure in others.  Although everyone in your family, like Peter, will at some point be touched negatively by letting his or her guard down, each one can be redeemed by seeking and accepting forgiveness, also like Peter.

            If you would like more ideas on helping your children (and yourself) develop a Biblical worldview or to find out how to win a Wal-Mart gift card, go to the 31 Days Giveaway (Intro. Part II) post for more Touching Families blog links.  If you want to check out other 31 Days' topics, see The Nester.

*All verses quoted are from the New International Version:  THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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