Since a young boy I have grown up in a Holy Ghost filled church. That doesn’t mean I was always living for God. I rebelled against the Lord. Actually, I thought I was rebelling against my parents and their church lifestyle, but in actuality I was rebelling against God.
What was the form of my rebellion? Well, I wanted to be like the rest of the kids in the neighbourhood. Their parents drank, smoke, and cursed. They were church-going Anglicans, but there was nothing in their lives that showed they loved God. I would be persecuted endlessly by the other kids. I was bullied, beaten up, and made fun of day after day. It was too much.
There is one incident in particular that I am reminded of. I don’t recall how it happened, but one day some older kids singled me out from among my childhood playmates and started threatening to beat me up if I didn’t swear. They made fun of me and they made fun of my parents. I didn’t want to be like my parents so I started swearing. Immediately, I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I knew this was wrong. But I didn’t want to be associated with my parent’s or their God. So I ignored the conviction and just kept on swearing. This was the beginning of my rebellion.
I guess Peter felt the same way when he followed from afar and tried to see what would happen to Jesus after Jesus had been arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. He followed his former Master from a distance and when Peter was recognized as a follower of Christ he became afraid of becoming an outcast and singled out. So in order for Peter to show that he was not associated with Jesus, he began cursing. In his heart, he did not want to be seen as a follower of Christ. And he used cursing to separate himself from the Son of God.
I have come across people who say that they are followers of Christ. They do all the outwardly things that you would expect a Christian to do. They go to church, they tithe, and they may even play an instrument in the church band or sing in the choir. But it is shocking and disappointing to hear them talk like the world does, and to hear the cursing coming from their mouths. I can only imagine how the Lord feels.
Jesus was grieved by Peter’s denial of him. Peter, the Bible says, wept bitterly after he did this. Peter’s denial came from out of his mouth. But it’s origins was in Peter’s heart. At that moment, Peter’s heart was revealed to him. I wonder what’s in the heart of those men and women who claim to be followers of Jesus but in everyday watercooler talk are no different in their speech than the rest of the world.
“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” Matthew 12:35
What’s in your heart?
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