Shout it from the roof tops

shout it from the rooftops

 

t doesn’t need to be stated, but the range in the thought process of middle school students from 1998 to 2013 has changed a little bit. The way I saw things as a middle school student in 1998 is completely different then what students in middle school see things today in 2013. You see, most students coming into middle school have already had dating experience before they’ve entered the 6th grade. That wasn’t the case when I was in middle school. It wasn’t something you just went and did, it wasn’t the coolest thing at the time. Boys hung with boys and girls hung with girls. You had your occassional friend who was a girl that you may have secret crush on, but you didn’t go around shouting to the world…”I’VE GOT A GIRLFRIEND!!!”

It was weird to do that…
It was crazy to do that…
It was something you didn’t do…

With that being said, I must be honest here for a second. I didn’t have alot of “dating” experience in middle school. I wasn’t what they called a “looker” in those sad, yet surprisingly insightful days. However, I did have the opportunity to date this one girl who was more friend then girlfriend. For some odd reason, when we hung out or talked on the phone (when people used to use the phone for those reasons), there was a connection that couldn’t be explained away as “friendship.” So we dated. While we dated, I mention that it was best if we kept it underwraps. There was no need of us announcing to the entire student body that we were a couple. 

Not one of my proudest moments…

During the course of our relationship, she kept asking me why I didn’t want people to know about us? She would ask me if I was embarrassed to be seen with her, or if I didn’t think she was pretty enough to tell everybody else about her. If course, I tried to avoid answering any of her questions. What was I suppose to do? I was a teenage boy with teenage hormones and a teenage mentality. I was already unpopular and basically, an outcast. I didn’t need the pressure of a relationship with every eye on us weighting around my neck. What makes this story that much more crazy is the fact that she was acutally very beautiful, very smart, very funny. I was ashamed of telling my friends about a beautiful person because of the pressure that would follow with the association of being in a relationship. 

I wanted to hide the truth…
I wanted to hide the beauty…

However, the one thing that has not changed in the last 15 years is the pressures that we face in life to align ourselves with a person, or place, or religion, or belief, or company. In this life, you are aligned with something, you are members of so and so, regular attenders of so and so’s church. It’s the desire to be connected to something, to be apart of something, to belong to something. But, what happens when the pressure gets to us? What happens when we are overcome by the burden of being aligned with something that isn’t popular? What happens when we can no longer shield ourselves from outside evaluation…?

We run…
We hide…
We deny…

In the scriptures, the writer, Matthew, tells us about a scene during the Passover supper between Jesus and one of his followers, Peter. Matthew tells us that Jesus is trying to paint a picture for Peter and what was to come during the next phrase of the redemption process. Jesus tells Peter that in the moment when his faith would be most tested, when he would need to align himself with a set of beliefs, a set of understandings, a way of life, Peter would need to make a decision. Peter would have a choice to make and this choice would either lead to complete contentment in Christ or utter disappointment in selfish pride and fear. Peter would choose the latter…

He would choose to run…
He would choose to hide…
He would choose to deny..

Three times…

Three times, Peter had the chance to claim Jesus. 
Three times, Peter had the chance to align with Jesus.
Three times, Peter had the chance to be like Jesus.

All three times, Peter chose to deny, to hide, and to run. When the pressure of what it was going to mean, what it was going to cost, what it was going to do, Peter could not overcome. For Peter, there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Peter was blinded by shear fear, being ashamed of the one that would eventually save his soul. For Peter, following Jesus was more of a hush, hush type of association. 

In secret…
In the quiet…
Behind the scenes…

However, Matthew doesn’t leave the story there. The lasting image of Peter isn’t a coward denying the savior of the world the right to call him a follower. The image we see of Peter at the conclusion of this story is…

Repentence…

Look closely at the last few words of the story. Matthew writes that, “Peter went away crying, for he was sorry.” He went away from this moment, knowing that he was ashamed, he was driving by fear. The word here for sorry is also the same meaning for repentence. 

Peter saw his sins the moment he denied Jesus, and the grace which Jesus still gave him, overcame him so much that all he could do was cry…

Cry out for help…
Cry out for courage…
Cry out for Jesus…

In this life, when the pressure is mounted on us and we can see no way from it. When the burdens of this life weight us down and we want to run, to hide, to deny the problem exist. Peter is a reminder to us. Jesus paid it all. Jesus took on everything we were unwilling, afraid, unable to bear. When we give thanks to the one who saved our soul, we should shout it from the roof tops. When we align ourselves with the one who give us eternal hope and glory, we should shout it from the roof top.

May you find comfort in Christ…
May you find joy in Christ…
May you know He loves you…
May you know He cares for you…
May you shout his awesomeness, glory, and grace from the roof top!

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