Simon Peter, when he saw [the miracle], fell to his knees before Jesus. “Master, leave. I’m a sinner and can’t handle this holiness. Leave me to myself.” Luke 5:8 (MSG)
Wendy and I were talking last week on our drive home from the lake. We were listening to the radio and a guy mentioned that he considered himself such bad person that God couldn’t possibly love or forgive him.
“I think that’s pride,” Wendy said. As I thought about it, I had to agree with her. There is an insidious side to pride. “I’m so terrible that God couldn’t possibly forgive me” is really just the dark side of “I’m so great God will surely accept me.”
We then talked about our own experiences with shame and guilt. On our conversational journey we came to discover that we had similar experiences. We each experienced periods of life when we pushed God away, but it wasn’t about feeling too guilty or too much shame. Our reticence to accept God’s forgiveness came out of the knowledge that to accept God’s gift of grace and forgiveness would incur a debt of gratitude and a call to walk away from the illicit behaviors to which we clung (and enjoyed).
Sometimes we push God away because, like Peter, we just want to be left alone. We don’t want to change.
Thankfully, God is tenacious in pursuit.