“The Look”

The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, January 14, 2022 comes to us from Tom Smith of Utah

54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. 59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” 60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:54-62 NIV
 

“The Look”

I was bullied in middle school. I was nerdy, and I didn’t wear cool clothes, and I was hopeless at sports. I took solace in my friendship with Tarik, an exchange student from India. Like me, he just didn’t seem to fit in. But we had a connection through our common pain. One day, as I walked to school, three football players actually talked to me. I was ecstatic! As we approached the school, I saw Tarik by the doorway. Instantly the football players began to tease him. My desire to be popular was overwhelming, and I’m ashamed to admit I joined them in teasing him. He didn’t say a word, but I could see the sense of betrayal and sadness in his eyes.


Peter must have felt deep shame when Jesus looked at him after Peter denied knowing Jesus. But Jesus didn’t condemn Peter. Rather, I believe Jesus looked deep into Peter’s soul and saw the bold man of God Peter would become. When we feel shame for our mistakes, forgiveness is a prayer away. Jesus always looks upon us with unconditional love.

 

Friends –

Like Tom Smith I wasn’t popular when I was in school. I could probably have been considered a nerd. I pray that I didn’t treat anyone badly, but I can’t be sure. (It was a very long time ago.) But, like many others, I do remember what it felt like to be excluded from the “in” group. I was active in Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF, back then), and it was in “that” group that I began to learn the lesson that Tom Smith is teaching today. I pray that each of us can remember that God offers us the grace that Tom Smith reports Jesus offering to Peter on that night so very long ago.

--Pastor bea

 
Prayer:

Loving Savior, help us to remember that your boundless love and sacrifice cover all our sins. May we look at others the way you do. Amen.

--Tom Smith


Prayer Focus:

Students being bullied at school.


Thought for the Day:

God is looking at me today with eyes of forgiving love.