Jesus and his peeps
When Clo was just over a year old, Reed taught her to say “What up my peeps?”. Seeing that curly-headed bundle of sweetness toddle around saying such a thing made anyone within earshot burst into laughter. It was one of the first things my future brother-in-law heard my kids say. Big brothers, argh!
A quick look at my Facebook account reveals that I am just shy of my own 400 peeps. (I’m not actually counting, and I had to go look it up.) I have been blessed with such amazing friends that my cup runneth over. Some of the KF’s (Kandy’s Friends) I have only met once and others I have never met in person but business dealings have connected us across the miles. I epitomize the saying that it isn’t what you have but who you have in your life. A closer look would find that there is an inner sanctum – the tight circle of besties that are there for me before I even need to send out the bat signal. Yet missing in that number are a few who have brought me heartache through the years, and though I have forgiven them I just haven’t been able to stick my heart back into their drama. For some of those relationships it took me years to realize that we weren’t good for each other. I read a book once that in a nutshell brought relief to this girl’s heart and soul. The author relayed that God calls us to forgive those that hurt us, but He doesn’t call us to live with basement dwellers – those that perpetually bring us down. That simple statement was freeing to me.
A while back I went with a friend whom I admire to our church’s regional women’s leadership conference. One of the speakers was a really young priest (I forget which denomination), but she was a dynamic speaker. She spoke on the thousands that came to see Jesus, but that mostly he was surrounded by a group of close friends. Later, she talked about those hurts committed against us by those closest to us. This is something that I really understand. What came out of her mouth next totally shocked me. “Jesus gets it. He gets when someone you love lets you down and hurts you deeply. Remember – here she paused and lowered her voice – he only ended with 11 friends because one of them (Judas) defaulted.”
What did she just say? Her words rained down like a soothing balm to my soul. The point of her talk was a reminder to take our hurts before the Lord of Lords because he understood hurt and betrayal. I love Jesus, and I love “talking” to Him, but never once in forty years had I thought about that He too was let down by his friend. And not just once either – Thomas doubted, Peter denied and those are only the examples of the ones we know about.
Jesus laughed and cried with his friends (not just the disciples). The sweetest verse to me is John 11:35 Jesus wept (NIV) when he learned of his friend Lazarus death. That verse reminds me that he did hurt emotionally. His heart leapt when He celebrated with His friends. He rejoiced. He attended weddings and parties, and He stayed up late just talking with His friends. He also retreated, prayed, rested, and loved.
Hey – wait a minute! We do all those same things, but seldom do we stop and think that Jesus – in His humanness – did a lot of stuff with his friends just like us. Why did I never stop to think that he too was hurt by them as well? As Easter is approaching, we remember that Jesus was fully God and that he took on the sins of the world, but we forget that he was also fully human, feeling the same things you and I experience.
He was wounded by humanity, but his heart was wounded by one close to him first. Simply the sweet little priest was right; Jesus gets it. When we are hurt or wounded, we really can turn to him. He’s there with open arms and listening ears. Although, I don’t think he would really say it, it might be easier to reach out if we envision him saying, “What up my peep?” You never can tell . . .