Members of the Human Race do not typically favor admitting weakness; on the contrary, people tend to be defensive, frequently are in denial—unaware of what remains dormant in the heart.

Peter, right before the crucifixion of Christ, was told by the Master that he soon would deny his Lord. Did Peter stop to consider what Jesus was communicating? Did the apostle say to himself, Jesus knows me better than I know myself—I’d better reflect upon His comments and take them seriously?

No! Instead he protested:

“Although all shall be offended, yet I will not.” Mark 14:29

In the book, The Desire of Ages, we read:

In the upper chamber (Peter) had declared, “I will lay down my life for Thy sake.” Jesus had warned him that he would, that very night, deny his Savior. Now Christ repeats the warning: “Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny Me thrice.” But Peter only “spake the more vehemently, If I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee in anywise. Likewise also said they all.” Mark 14:29, 30, 31.

In their self-confidence they denied the repeated statement of Him who knew. They were unprepared for the test; when temptation should overtake them, they would understand their own weakness.

When Peter said he would follow his Lord to prison and to death, he meant it, every word of it; but he did not know himself. Hidden in his heart were elements of evil that circumstances would fan into life. Unless he was made conscious of his danger, these would prove his eternal ruin.

The Savior saw in him a self-love and assurance that would overbear even his love for Christ. Much of infirmity, of unmortified sin, carelessness of spirit, unsanctified temper, heedlessness in entering into temptation, had been revealed in his experience.

Christ’s solemn warning was a call to heart searching. Peter needed to distrust himself, and to have a deeper faith in Christ. Had he in humility received the warning, he would have appealed to the Shepherd of the flock to keep His sheep.

When on the Sea of Galilee he was about to sink, he cried, “Lord, save me.” Matt. 14:30. Then the hand of Christ was outstretched to grasp his hand. So now if he had cried to Jesus, Save me from myself, he would have been kept.

But Peter felt that he was distrusted, and he thought it cruel. He was already offended, and he became more persistent in his self-confidence. E. G. White: The Desire of Ages.

How often do we quickly dismiss the wise counsel of those who have insights beyond our current comprehension—even taking offense when they warn us of possible dangers that could befall us if we should continue on a particular course of action?

Do we accept constructive criticism with grace, or does pride drive us to foolishly double down on our flawed reasoning?

Bear in mind I’m not referencing situations where some individuals may try, in knee-jerk fashion, to discourage us from pursuing a dream or goal.

Rather, when someone of insight shares their wise counsel, we should simply search our hearts–reflect…and be mindful of our potential shortcomings, weaknesses, prejudices and proclivities that, left unchecked, may carelessly lead us down a precarious path. When uncertain, ask God for wisdom:

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  –James 1:5

Particularly in times of stress and trial, denial and defensiveness–resulting from pride and blindness relative to our own imperfect hearts, may have disastrous consequences. The worst case scenario–eternal ruin–at best…our denial will result in less fulfilling lives, as we refuse to grow and change for the better.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. -Psalm 139:23, 24

 


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