Remember the story of Peter rebuking Jesus? Recently, I re-read it with new eyes.

“From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” Matthew 16:21-23.

Don’t you just love Peter’s perspective? He thinks he knows better than Jesus. What pride that would motivate him to take Jesus aside as if he were some wise sage and could be an advisor for Jesus! What pride to think he’s qualified to rebuke Jesus. The pride. The arrogance. The…

Oh wait. I’m just like Peter. When my children were little, I tried to protect them from any and all dangers. I didn’t want them to be needy or hurt. I thought I shouldn’t ever get angry at them or make them feel bad about themselves. If it did, their source (me!) wasn’t coming through for them and providing the self esteem they needed. I turned out to be a very angry mother which destroyed that plan. But there was one benefit: I learned my children need to be needy so that they will need God. They need God–not me–because I sure don’t have what they need. I don’t know better than God.

Oh wait. I’m just like Peter. As a lay counselor I can begin thinking that my style of counseling is the only way that people will change and grow closer to God. Hello! The mighty Spirit of God has been working in the lives of believers for 2,011 years without my help! I don’t know better than God.

Oh wait. I’m just like Peter. In so many ways. And Peter’s kind of thinking spawns ungodly and untrusting reactions like

  • co-dependency: thinking I’ve got to come through for someone
  • rescuing: thinking I’ve got to protect someone
  • anger: believing I know the goal someone else should strive for (and if they don’t I’m upset)
  • discontent: believing I know what will bring happiness.

Yes, there are so many ways that I’m just like Peter. Lord, help me remember that I don’t know better than you!