Friday, March 16, 2007


"Denial" is one of those hand grenade words that can derail most conversations. "You are just in denial" is a response that forces a person to defend their grasp of reality. "I think I'm in a state of denial" is a convenient excuse for self-indulgent behavior or a life without self-discipline. "Denial" is not grasping reality, refusing to come to terms with what a situation really is. Denial is a by-product of extreme optimism. Denial is a logical outgrowth of great fear. Denial fuels addictive behavior. Denial allows dysfunctional and toxic people to continue to behave badly with others. Denial is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as it slipped into the cold ocean.
I don't like denial. Maybe that's why I have never preached a sermon on Peter's denial in the courtyard. In choosing to leave the lectionary and devise our own, based on the events in the life of Christ, I have been forced (does one force one's self?) to confront texts I know and am famliar with, but have not preached. In living with Mark 14: 66-72, I have had to return to great disappointments and deep wounds. At my desk I have been flooded with the faces of those persons who fell to immorality, addictions, illegal activity and just plain stupidity. These were all good people, people I loved and respected. These were people who had (and still have) enormous potential and are wonderfully gifted. They have been pastors, teachers, denominational leaders, chairpersons, deacons, friends, neighbors, new christians and old pillars. What they all have in common is their denial and pride tripped them up in some way, and they fell. They lost their marriages, their sobriety, their jobs, their respect, their reputation, their self-esteem, some even their children.
But, not all the stories ended badly. Some faced their demons, confessed their sins, owned up to their self-destructive pride and insatiable appetite for approval and found grace, forgiveness, love and reality. They found a life-giving relationship with Christ where he was Lord and not a hood ornament.
Peter is that story of brokenness back to health, from cowardice to courage. Who else could have told this terrible story to Mark other than Peter, the deniar who was later reconciled back to Jesus?


At 9:56 AM , Blogger Chris Brooks said...

Amen. And Amen.



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