And he went out and wept bitterly.
Luke 22: 62
In this era of camera readiness and selfies, it is common to put our best foot (best face) forward. The internet is riddled with “perfect poses” and “perfect noses.” But is this who we really are? Where is the rest of the story?
I was critical of the selfie culture until recently when a friend offered to help me declutter my home. As generous and as rare as this offer was, my immediate thought was, “No way, it’s a complete mess. I’m not letting anyone see that side of me.” As soon as this thought crossed my mind, it became clear to me that at one level or another, we’re all projecting our selfies on others. We’re all inclined to put our best foot (best face) forward, and because of this human tendency, this is how we approach God.
Peter was not immune to this behavior. He had told Jesus that he was ready to go to prison or death (Luke 22: vs 33), but after putting his best foot forward, he stumbled. After denying the Lord three times, Peter was ashamed and remorseful he wept bitterly. He couldn’t even do so near the people who were still sitting in the courtyard, so he “went out.” He decided to separate himself from the rest of the crowd. Peter was broken, and weighed down under the heavy burden of conviction. What Peter forgot, was that the Lord who created him already knew that he was flawed. The Lord had even warned him prior, that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed.
Sin and the accompanying emotions of guilt and shame have a way of driving a wedge between us and those close to us, especially those of the family of faith. The realization that we are “broken,” ‘flawed,” and “inadequate” can cause us to “go out (separate, shut out)” physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. But God is in the business of using broken beings, messy beings, and imperfect beings. Think Jacob, Moses, and David among many others. God does not want our selfies; God wants us, just as we are. Vance Havner (1901-1986) puts it this way: “God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.
Dear friend, are you broken? Then open wide and let God see every chip and jagged edge. That’s how his light gets in. This week, I am opening my garage. No more selfies, because what happens in the physical translates in the spiritual. And if an earthly friend can handle your imperfections, how much more will your heavenly Father do so, when you come to him in full honesty?
Gracious Savior, here I am broken, flawed and imperfect, but you knew that already. No more hiding, and no more dodging; melt me and mold me in accordance with your will, so that I might serve you without shame or pretense. In Jesus’ name. Amen.