The Tough Questions

“Peter, do you love me?”

Talk about a tough question that puts you on the spot, especially after having denied Christ three times when it mattered most. Jesus never asked a question to which He didn’t already know the answer. So why ask? Reason–there was something Peter needed to know about himself, about his heart, and asking the tough question was the only way for him to discover the truth. For Jesus, community mattered. He cared enough about Peter to ask the tough questions.

Beginning of the Story

This story really began when Jesus told Peter, “You will disown me three times.” It wasn’t a harsh  or condemning statement. Jesus was for Peter. He was on Peter’s side. In fact, immediately after telling him what would happen, Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. (John 14:1, NIV)”  But instead of asking Jesus what He saw in him that would lead him to deny knowing Christ,  Peter refused to examine his heart, insisting instead that even if the others left he would never do so. And he meant it at the time. Peter thought he knew his own heart–that he truly loved (agaped) Christ enough to make the hard choices in difficult times. “I won’t fail you. I’ll be faithful. I’ll be there for you even if the others aren’t.” Unfortunately, Peter too quickly dismissed Christ’s ‘feedback‘ because he couldn’t see into the blind spots of his heart.

Blind Spots

The fact is none of us can see into our own blind spots. That’s part of the reason God placed us within the community of believers we call the Church. We need others to walk along side and to speak truth into our lives with love. The problem is, within the Church, we rarely teach how to give and receive feedback from one another nor do we provide the opportunity for this to happen. You can’t ask the tough questions without some face-to-face time in a community where you feel safe enough to be open and honest.

Who Is In Your Community?

So, who in your community asks you the tough questions? For me, it’s Aaron, my best friend. Many times I don’t like the questions but I know he loves me and that God placed him in my life. The following video shows a great example of asking the tough questions. In it, Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris question Francis Chan about why he’s leaving Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA. At one point, in an effort to force Francis to examine his true motives for leaving, Mark asks, “Is this a discontentedness in your soul that won’t ever be satisfied?” All of us, at times, need feedback–someone to speak truthfully into our lives, into those blind spots that hinder our growth in Christ. So think for a moment. Are you part of a community? And if so, who within your community of believers, your circle of friends, your church–who do you trust enough to ask you the tough questions?

Francis Chan Interviewed by Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris

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2 Responses to “ “The Tough Questions”

  1. Linda Savell Stanley says:

    In Luke 10, Jesus appoints seventy-two apostles and sends them ahead to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Included among the seventy-two apostles were James, His brother, the first bishop of Jerusalem; Stephen, the first martyr; Ananias, who baptized Paul and was bishop of Damascus; Linus, bishop of Rome; Luke the Evangelist; and Trophimus, who was martyred along with Paul.

    These seventy-two apostles relied on each other for their courage, faith, hope and love to make their pilgrimage to what Jesus described as a ‘harvest field.’ Each of them knew that the journey would be rough from the instructions they received from Jesus…“Pack light, don’t talk to anyone on the road, and don’t forget I’m sending you out like lambs among wolves.”

    Jesus knew the power of friendship and social groups. He wraps it up in verse 16, “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” Jesus made his point that this spiritual harvest required a group effort and groups require friendship and loving support. Jesus admonished his apostles and friends “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.”

    This community of believers was hand picked by Jesus; they followed His instructions in Luke 10. Some were martyred, but most became the first bishops of early Christian Church. Jesus knew that the road each of them would face would be daunting but that each would overcome through their love and faith in Christ. He sent them out two by two, not alone, so that each would have the support and friendship he needed for the journey. The faith, hope, love and peace that Jesus taught them to have for each other reinforced the trust they had in each other, this in turn reinforced their trust as a community of believers.

  2. Carol says:

    Love this one, John, particularly as a therapist. I have been pondering a support group lately entitled “Life is hard, but God is good”. No time to run any support groups at this point, but we do all need each other in a REAL and genuine way, not a platitude and “best foot forward” manner.

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