None of us wants to place ourselves in the same space with Judas, or with Peter in the courtyard that night. After all, what they did or did not do, was so much more serious than any act we could commit or omit, right? And they ACTUALLY met and walked with Jesus in real time, which we never have, so isn't their sin the greater? Or is it a key feature of sin that we seek to justify what looks so glaringly wrong by playing compare and contrast? I know that when I have decided I was too tired to do evening prayer, I have denied you. When the irritating member of the parish wants to talk, I want to run away. When I have been silent when I should have spoken out against an injustice, I have betrayed all you stand for.
My Lenten discipline was to give up making excuses for things I did not do, or things I did that i should not have. If I forgot to return a phone call, or just did not make something a priority, when I spoke in haste or anger, or was impatient, instead of giving a "reason" why, I made myself simply acknowledge what I did or did not do - period. After all , if we say God's grace is sufficient, it is so regardless of our own efforts at justification. And if there is something we need to amend, we should stop seeking to dress it up with feel better words. It has made me more conscious of little things. Like, if I snapped at someone, I said I was sorry - period. Not "sorry but I ... " I found I was not only more aware of the ways I may not measure up, but more honest and more truly grateful for grace. I can do nothing to add to it. This week I think about the ways I have denied God and give thanks for the fact that in spite of it all, nothing can separate us from God. And I am also reminded to not try to decide how God also acts this way for all of my brothers and sisters, even when I cannot comprehend. We all deny God, we all need grace, we all are embraced in this grace - let us live it out in our lives and our response to those in our midst.