6 Apr 2015

Holy Week 5: when we speak before we think - an extrovert's confession

On our tenth time going out or thereabouts, the boyfriend said to me, "you speak before you think". Yes, even before we were married. we ran smack into our deep differences and we did not always handle it kindly!

No one had ever said that to me (I didn't connect it with what my primary school teacher had written in my report book: "...very talkative.."). Growing up in a large family and watching how folks in my poor neighbourhood often jostled for space, rights and voice had perhaps built into me a necessity to know, reach, and speak up - or be forgotten and left behind. I aced my General Knowledge quizzes, I raised my hands to ask questions, I spoke.

So yes, I turned out an extrovert. Even with my love and need for solitude now; this basic personality bent remains. Which is why, Peter the disciple is understandable to me. I suspect some of us get him more than others.

Watch Peter here: the skit guys {click}

My introvert husband always felt a little jealous of us extroverts - our ease in company, our ability to connect quickly and with so many!

Yes Peter not only connected with Jesus fast; he believed deeply that he had a great relationship with His Master. His own estimate of the relationship was so optimistic and ideal that he did not recognise his potential to fail.

Observing Peter over the years has grown me. He is the most fleshed out character among the disciples. See if you chuckle a bit at recognizing yourself or someone you know: 

He is demonstrative

Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

He answers on his feet (literally!), he is observant
Luke 8:45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
Mark 11:21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
He responds fast
Matthew 14:28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
John 21:7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
He asks questions
Matthew 15:15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”
 Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

He is perceptive
Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
John 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
He believes he is special
Matthew 16:22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

He wants to contribute/solve/seek the best
Matthew 17:4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

He gives his all
Matthew 19:27 “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
John 13:37 “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”Matthew 26:35  “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

He reacts in line with his feelings and beliefs

John 13:6-8  He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” .....“No, you shall never wash my feet.”.... “Then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

He denies Jesus
Luke 22:60  “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

He may be ADHD? He certainly influences the others
John 21:3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.”

Peter is very instructive for me. I see my own zeal as well as foibles in him.

But most of all, it is the way Jesus believes in him, is patient with him, calls him forth, and restores him that moves me deeply. 

Jesus loved Peter with his personality strengths and weaknesses. Jesus also sees beyond the Cephas to the Petra. Cephas was his name. Petra (rock) was his true substance. But Petra won't happen as he remained Cephas. The rock is forged over time with an assault of the elements of faith, doubt, fear, and healing.

 If who we truly are is to emerge; we must be who we are now, bravely and trust the LORD to take us there.

But it's no harm holding back a bit; learn from our Introvert brethren, and pray this prayer in the meantime:
 Psalm 141:3 ~ Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

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