When Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they; arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy so that by their hypocrisy, even Barnabas was led astray. (Galatians 2:11-13)
Before attending the Florida Christian Writers Conference, I had a flat tire. I ordered a new one from Walmart and made an appointment to have the spare replaced the day before the conference. My appointment was at 8:00 a.m., so I should’ve been home by 9 to complete my writer’s critique class submissions. Besides a bit of heel-tapping, I waited patiently in line until 8:30, when the cashier told me that their computers were down for three weeks and they couldn’t put on tires. She blamed the evening shift—they should’ve called me—but they didn’t.
It took another ten minutes for her to complete my paperwork and get the tire from the back and five more to get a technician to put it in my trunk. I still didn’t lose my temper but possibly took a tone at the cashier, who wasn’t the least sympathetic about my predicament. I’m sure I said, “It would’ve been nice for someone to call me so I could’ve gone to another tire store,” no less than five times. Her response was, “No problem, any Walmart can put it on.”
So I went to the Walmart on the other side of town, circled the store, and couldn’t find their auto shop. An employee confirmed they didn’t have one. So I drove south out of Ocala to another Walmart. During my hour-and-a-half wait, since I had no appointment at that Walmart, I told my story to a customer service rep and anyone else who would listen. And as you can see, I’m still telling the more extended version of the story.
I can relate to our beloved Peter, who doesn’t handle stress well. He denied Jesus three times when he feared for his life. Now he betrays his Gentile Christian friends because he’s afraid of peer pressure from Jews who believed Christians should keep Jewish laws.
The church is full of hypocrites, myself included. I realize God will continue to let me go through stressful situations until I can spread God’s love during those times when I’m pressured. When I can handle stress with a smile and spread God’s love, I’ll be more like Jesus. And God won’t need to place me in stressful situations.
Father, help me be a mirror to reflect your glory. Have your Spirit work within me so I can become more like Jesus. Take my stress and solve my problems. I praise you for being my refuge. Keep my family safe today and bind us closer to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.