It’s a matter of life and death. How do you respond? Perhaps you’ve been in such a situation. It’s often difficult to truly know how you’ll respond. We’d like to think we’ll respond with bravery, sacrifice…and faith. But when faced with the unknown, who knows?
As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I’m reminded of a conversation that took place in a women’s small group I was leading. It was the day after a mass shooting - yet another tragedy of many innocent people dying because they were gathered together for a common purpose and someone who didn’t agree with that purpose decided to unleash his anger.
I digress, when the truth is I don’t know the specifics of the situation, particularly not the shooter’s frame of mind.
Anyway, our small group today started talking about how we’d respond. Someone said, “If I was in a classroom and someone came in with a gun and said, ‘Who’s a Christian in this room?,’ would I stand up or take cover? I’d like to think I’d proudly stand for God. But I don’t actually know what I’d do.”
Another person responded, “I think we also need to be careful in what we define to be righteous behavior. Of course, we’re to claim our identity in God, but if someone who has severe mental issues comes into a room with a gun, I’m not positive the only way to stand up for God is to die. I also think surviving such an experience – as long as I don’t have to renounce my faith – can have as much of an impact after the fact. The important thing is ‘Are we doing what God is calling us to do in that moment?’”
It’s easy to say what we’d do or not do before the fact, but we might want to be careful what we claim.
Peter said, “Everyone else may stumble in their faith because of you, but I will not.”
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, tonight before the rooster crows you will say three times that you don’t know me.”
But Peter said, “I will never say that I don’t know you! I will even die with you!” And all the other followers said the same thing. (Matthew 26:33-35)
In case you don’t know, Jesus is right on this one. Peter indeed denies him three times.
Then Peter began to place a curse on himself and swear, “I don’t know the man.” At once, a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered what Jesus had told him: “Before the rooster crows, you will say three times that you don’t know me.” Then Peter went outside and cried painfully. (Matthew 26:74-75)
So what are we to do if we don’t know for certain how we’re going to respond?
Accept the fact that your faith is susceptible. It’s not without vulnerabilities. The more completely you accept your vulnerabilities to God, the better. He will strengthen you in your weakness.
What’s one strength you have that can be a weakness in some situations?
What’s one weakness you have that can be a strength at times?
Remember, in God’s economy, the first are last, the last are first, rich is poor, poor is rich, etc. A strength can be a weakness. A weakness can be a strength. It’s all about how God defines each and how you’re letting him use you.
Yield to God – in all things – and your faith will strengthen. As a reminder, print small yield signs (or cut triangular pieces of paper) and strategically place them in places you’ll notice them throughout your daily routine.