“Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.” (John 18:27)
Peter was in the inner circle of the apostles, one who spent more time with Jesus and was even more devoted than the others. Yet even Peter denied knowing Jesus when he thought it may cost him some form of punishment. He reacted selfishly and tried to protect himself. The cock crowing reminded him that Jesus had told him he would make this decision. The passage ends with Peter all alone, pondering his selfish choice.
Lent offers us the challenge to us to be alone and ponder our own selfish choices. Lent is the cock crowing. It’s time to face things.
What are you denying?
Are you denying your own personal health? That’s often the first domino to fall in matters of our overall well-being. We sit too much and don’t move around. We eat too much and eat the wrong things. The pounds mount up. It happens slowly and we really don’t even notice. The distance increases between fitness and our bodies – it just seems too far to travel so we continue in the wrong direction.
Wake up. Stop filling your mouth and get moving. Take a walk. Just put one foot in front of the other and good things start happening.
Are you denying your emotional health? Here’s where the substance problems start. We slide from two drinks to three, on to four and five. Cigarettes are tempting little bullets. Those pain killers seem innocent enough. We can rationalize most anything.
Is this where you want your life to be? What is it you’re really feeling? Write it down or tell someone. Open up instead of covering up. It’s all in there whether you admit it or not. Sooner or later it has to be dealt with. Now’s a good time.
Are you denying the need for some quiet prayer? We don’t know how to pray, so we just don’t do it. We jump out of bed and hit the day running. We go from thing to thing and collapse in a heap at night. We feel hurried and chaotic but all those things and people are our responsibility. We can’t just let them go.
You don’t have to stop your life. But a life void of reflection is soon lost. It’s later than you think. Sit still a little and just watch and listen. That’s prayer, in case you’ve forgotten.
Have you denied your own shortcomings? When’s the last time you apologized for something?
Are you denying grace? The world is set up for progress. Things are being transformed around us. Have you forgotten? Do you think you have to make everything yourself? Do you think all you have is from your own effort?
Whoa, there. You’re not that smart or capable. Things are happening more in spite of you than because of you. Might want to stop and say thank you.
Are you denying your need for the community? Are you stuck thinking people are stupid and institutions are corrupt? They are but isolating yourself cuts you off from life. You’re no better and no worse than anyone else. Get in the mix for God’s sake.
Denial starts small. Then it builds into a lifestyle. Eventually the world collapses around you.
The cock is crowing. Ponder your choices. Just take a step in the right direction. The road will carry you from there. Sin leads to redemption when we face things honestly.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.