I’ve often wondered at the disciples’ apparent naïveté. Did they really think they would stand firm for Christ when what they actually did was turn and flee? Why did they seek to be the greatest when they knew nothing of leadership or servanthood? When Jesus told them at the Last Supper that one of them would betray Him, why did they all ask, “Is it I?” Did they really think they could betray their Lord? How could they not know their own hearts?
Just today I was reminded of the deceitfulness of my own heart. It started in a meeting with someone that I sometimes disagree with. Why are relationships so hard sometimes? In the midst of our discussion, Jamie’s* voice stopped me. “Jill, the difficulty in our relationship is a matter of pride.”
Really, God? Pride? The excuses swarmed to my lips, but something kept me silent. Is there pride in my heart? Pride in this relationship?
Lord, is it I?
The conversation ended with prayer and tears. Honesty and openness. A willingness to work together, to learn how to grow together. I was pleased with the outcome, while still feeling battered inside. Sometimes, working through pain causes more pain. At least momentarily. Then why did I not feel better?
Any disagreement causes me angst. I don’t relish conflict, don’t seek to invite struggles. Yet discussions are healthy, and differing opinions are integral to any relationship, any church, any business. I know this, recognize it, value it. Why then was I in turmoil?
I swiveled in my chair so I could stare out the window. Have you ever come face-to-face with yourself and not been pleased? The truth was at once convicting and conflicting: there was pride in my heart.
Jamie had been right.
I left the office and began to walk, tears streaming down my face. Was there pride in Jamie’s heart too? Most likely. But that wasn’t the issue. All I could address was the state of my own heart. And my heart was dirty.
I turned to my Savior, broken at my sin, yet even more so at the thought of how long it had been quietly growing inside. Had other relationships been tainted? Had certain decisions been compromised because I had walked in pride?
Have you ever experienced the reality of this statement: We have met the enemy, and he is us? Has your heart ever deceived you? Have you ever walked in concert with the disciples at their last meal with the Master, trembling before Him? God, am I really capable of such an act of betrayal?
Ask your Savior, “Is it I?” And if it is, thank Him for revealing your desperate need of the God who heals, cleanses, and restores.
What a gift of grace!
Jill Morikone is vice president and chief operations officer for Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN), a supporting Adventist television network. She and her husband, Greg, live in southern Illinois and enjoy ministering together for Jesus.
*Not their real name.