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Thursday-Standing Condemned



When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.


Galatians 2:11


You sense it immediately. They walk into the room and everyone gets quiet. Everyone knows the facts against them. There’s no denying it. Their actions have just blown apart their reputation.


It was early in the morning, and I was catching up on my social media feeds when I saw it. There was a press release from the local sheriff’s department about a large number of arrests. They were all related to a sting operation connected to child prostitution.


And right there in the middle of the list of names was a friend of mine. I couldn’t believe it. It had to be a mistake. But it wasn’t. I found the video and watched in utter disbelief as my friend went to a house to have sex with a young girl he found on the internet. After knocking on the door, he walked in.


With strength and concern for his safety, I saw the police overwhelm him. He was slowly and carefully taken to the ground. He immediately started crying, saying that it was all a mistake. He was sorry. He was just there to talk with this young girl.


They searched him for weapons or anything that might harm anyone. As they handcuff him, he was read his rights and asked if he understood them. Saying yes through his cries of innocence and that this was just a misunderstanding, the officers helped him to his feet. They took him away to be processed


About a week and a half later my friend came to church. And it was there. That feeling. That overwhelming sense that everything was different. He had been a friendly guy, outgoing, even sung in the choir. But not now. He was different. Everything was different. He stood condemned.


His problem didn’t start when he knocked on the door. It didn’t start when he found that girl on the internet. It didn’t start when he turned on his computer. No, his problem went back a long time. There was this hole in his soul. There was a great, unmet need and he tried to fill it with all the wrong things.


My friend tried to fill it with one way. And we try to fill that same hole in our soul in all sorts of ways. Some try success. Some try fame. Some think that enough money, cars, money, drugs, or someone else can make that deep empty ache go away.


The Apostle Peter also stood condemned. He tried to fill this hole in his soul another way. He needed the approval of people. He let the traditions and patterns of the past define his present. He knew what to do. He knew what was right and wrong. And he chose to follow the wrong.


If we’re honest with ourselves and each other, we’ve all done the same thing. Perhaps not with the same choices, but we came to a fork in the road. We came to that place where we had to make a choice, and we choose wrong. And like the Apostle Peter, we need a Paul in our life. Someone who stands up for God and his truth. They stand up in front of us and oppose us. They stand against the pressure that we fell to. They resist when we fell.


Funny thing about resisting. It’s not an action, it’s a reaction. You didn’t start out resisting. You weren’t standing there thinking, “I’m just going to stand here and resist.” When you resist, it’s always in response to someone or something. The pressure or problem came from the outside. You didn’t start it; you didn’t initiate it. They did it. They fired the first shot. You only get to resist because someone or something first came at you.


The great Apostle Peter. The great fisher of men came in and folded like a house of cards. He couldn’t stand up to these people. He chose not to resist. And long before Paul said anything, Peter stood condemned. He was guilty, it was only a matter of time till the inner guilt came out through his words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes.


When we’re found out, when it comes out how wrong we are, we stay that way until we ask for forgiveness. This must immediately be followed by a change that can be seen in our lives. True repentance, true change, always, always, always is demonstrated in a changed life.


The change might be like a huge wave that crashes onto the beach. Or it might be as slow as the tide coming in. It might be immediate, or it may take time. The change might come at the cost of more failure followed by more forgiveness. But change does come.


And like Peter needed Paul, perhaps you need someone who will stand up to you. Someone who will oppose you. Someone who won’t let you get away with it any longer. No matter the cost.


God is like this. He doesn’t let us get away with it. He doesn’t just let us slide. He tells us the truth about who we and what we’ve done. He then points to himself as the one and only way back. He tells us the truth and then gives himself up as our payment to be restored. Remade. Given another chance. Jesus doesn’t just let us stand there condemned. He stood condemned in our place and took our punishment for us. Now, that’s something that can change a life.


Noodling Questions


  • How do you feel when you stand condemned?

  • Where do you try to hide when your condemnation comes out?

  • Explain God’s love the last time he condemned you.

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