In John 18:10, we find a shocking account of the disciples’ run-in with the Roman soldiers. The cohort of soldiers has come to arrest Jesus on the final night of His earthly life. He’s willing to give Himself over to them. Then, this happens:
“Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear (the servant’s name was Malchus).”
These details are too exact not to be true. What I want you to see here is that we have the leading disciple—a man who is actually called an apostle—the one that would become the leader of the entire Jesus movement—and he hurts somebody.
I don’t care how close you are to Jesus; I don’t care if you’re an apostle, prophet, evangelist, preacher…people hurt people. Because that’s what we do. This is why, for believers, forgiveness is not about keeping score; it’s about God helping us lose count.
Think about it: we expect church people to be more perfect than people at our jobs, at the bank, or at the store…however, if people in the church never do anything wrong, how are we going to learn to forgive? Why are we so surprised that people of faith have struggles, as well? It’s the nature of people.
What’s interesting is, we’ll go back to work when our coworkers do stuff. We’ll go back to the bank or the same store where other people did stuff. But when it comes to the people of God, somehow, it’s supposed to be heaven. Let me tell you something: I’m been pastoring too long—sometimes, church is a little bit more like hell. Why? Because this is where the battle is. This is where the battle rages.
Wherever you’ve got hurt people, they’re going to hurt people. So don’t be surprised if stuff happens. Even the best of us are, at best, only human. Ephesians 4:32 tells us, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Let’s humble ourselves and allow God to teach us more about His love and forgiveness through our relationships.
Dr. Derek Grier