After years of clinging to the notion of sexual abstinence my resolve began to crumble when I became a soldier. Socially speaking, the military was similar to my college and work experience; however, it was a culture drastically unique from any I had previously been exposed to. I found myself in a sexually charged atmosphere, and all too quickly one young lady in particular became the focus of my attention. After a lifetime of abusive situations, she seemed drawn to me; and I, in turn, felt obligated to rescue her from a vicious cycle of poor relationships. I became obsessed and my judgment deteriorated as I continually compromised in order to counter her resistance. Eventually, I caved completely and, consequently, lost her respect. As a result, our relationship fell apart overnight.
Sometime later, I sought her out, hoping desperately to woo her back. Put off by my advances, she spitefully confessed to having been with multiple other men during and since our relationship. Never before and never since have I been so emotionally sucker-punched. My knees buckled, and I fell face down on the ground, sobbing bitterly. I was humiliated and crushed by her betrayal.
My grief would take a while to dissipate, but that night bore a startling revelation. Through the blinding agony of heartbreak, I was reminded of when Peter denied his association with Jesus on the night before the crucifixion. In a horrifically insightful moment, I began to comprehend how both Peter AND Jesus must have felt.
The Bible doesn’t reveal if Jesus had any immediate reaction to Peter’s actions, but we do know that Peter ran off and “wept bitterly.” Peter hadn’t meant to hurt Jesus, but I imagine the look in his eyes pierced Peter’s heart. Jesus had predicted Peter’s failure, and it must have been devastating to learn that his Master’s expectations were accurate. Just like Peter boasted of his loyalty to Jesus, I proudly proclaimed my sexual convictions; and like Peter, I too let pride precede my fall. I took my eyes off of Christ for a split-second and got burned by my selfish pursuit. The knowledge that my sin didn’t catch Christ by surprise only added to my humiliation. I felt utterly foolish for walking into a snare with my eyes wide shut.
In this scenario, however, I was also the person wronged, and I remember vividly wondering if how I felt was anything like how God feels when we wrong Him. This woman acted selfishly, pursuing satisfaction from others without regard for how her actions would affect me. We can analyze this all day long, but what she thought and why she made her choices are not important. The thought to consider is how much we treat God the same way. How often do we grieve God by our choices? As I cried that night, I was given a glimpse of how my defiance and unfaithfulness breaks the heart of God.
I am struggling to know how to conclude these thoughts. I do not claim to fully understand the thoughts and character of God. I do know, though, the pain of being mistreated; and I know the guilt of having mistreated others. And I don’t imagine that I am assuming too much if I suggest that we all have felt the same. I suppose all I am hoping to convey here is that maybe it’s time we remembered the Golden Rule and relearned how to treat EVERYONE as we ourselves would hope to be treated.