When you run into tough times in your life, what do your friends have to say about it? We’ve all been there. A bad day at work. A fight at home. A difficult exam at school. On those bad days, you tell your friends what’s going on. And friends rarely have no opinion. If you have a neutral friend who doesn’t really invest emotionally in you or your life, you might want to rethink that friendship.
But while it’s good to have friends who support you and who are on your side, you need to make sure you’ve got people in your life who will tell you the things you may not want to hear.
Today’s verse is Matthew 16:23.
Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
The first time I read this verse, I was shocked. I thought, oh my gosh, how could Jesus be so harsh? I mean, Jesus had just declared that he would die a brutal death, and Peter just wanted to protect Him. Peter didn’t want Jesus to have to face the horrible true purpose of His birth–that He had come to save us.
That’s just being a good friend, right? You want to intervene. You want to get between your friend and the painful situation that they’re going to have to face. But that’s when we need to truly consider how Jesus reacted.
No, Jesus wasn’t saying that Peter was possessed or anything like that. But Peter’s exclamation that Jesus didn’t have to go to the cross came from an ungodly perspective. From God’s point of view, Jesus’ purpose was to die on the cross. God had sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for us. If we were going to be saved, if God was going to keep His promise, Jesus had to die.
How does that understanding line up with our own lives?
God has a purpose and a plan for all of us, and it’s a good plan. It’s the best plan. But the problem is, the world is a mess, and you can’t live in it without getting messy, even if you’re following God’s plan for your life. Sometimes you’re just going to have to go through some crap. Maybe it’s sickness. Maybe it’s a failed relationship. Maybe it’s emotional hurt or physical pain or mental stress. It’s never God’s desire for us to suffer, but sometimes suffering is the only way to learn the lessons we need to learn.
Jesus had to be crucified, the worst, most humiliating form of public execution mankind has ever developed. If God’s only Son had to experience that, what business do we have getting upset over our own “light and momentary trials”?
You can avoid difficult situations. You can put off conflict resolution. You can evade consequences. But only for so long. And if you have friends in your life who are urging you to run away, don’t listen to them. They’re not helping you, and their point of view isn’t coming from God. And if their point of view doesn’t come from God, it can only come from one other place.
I’m thankful for my friends who see life from God’s point of view. A real friend cares more about what God says than how you feel. It’s harsh, but it’s true. God knows best. His rules are for my benefit. His plan will eventually lead to the desire of my heart, if I stick to it. And a friend who wants what’s best for me will tell me what I need to hear, no matter how much it might bruise my ego or my pride.