I am my own worst enemy. I say mean things to loved ones when I don’t want to, I fall asleep praying, and I hurt friends’ feelings. The fact is, I live in tension every single day knowing what I should do and then doing the exact opposite. You may do the same. I know that Jesus’ disciples did.
When Jesus went into Gethsemane during those last painful hours of his life he asked his friends for help. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch,” Mark writes in his gospel.
What did the disciples do? They fell asleep when their dear Jesus needed them most. Has a good friend of yours been in pain, asked you for help only to have you let him down? I have.
“Simon,” Jesus said to Peter, “Could you not keep watch for one hour?” We can hear the hurt in his voice when his loved ones failed him. They wanted to stay awake, but they couldn’t. The good news for us is that the story doesn’t end there. Jesus sees their failures and still marches up the hill to Calvary to that horrific cross. Why? Because he wanted to show them a couple of things: that he loved them even when they disappointed him and he was making a way to redeem them from their failures. That’s what I need. When I fail loved ones, I need someone to redeem my failures and help me stop hurtful behavior.
If the story would have ended in the garden of Gethsemane, we might believe that Jesus was so disappointed with his friends that he gave up. They weren’t worth helping. But he didn’t. He went on and showed us what explosive love is all about. And he overwhelmed us with it.
If Easter hadn’t happened, I dare say that we would all be trapped in being our own worst enemy. We wouldn’t know that God loves us even when we let him down and we wouldn’t be able to change. These two things are the power of the Easter story. On the cross, Jesus fought off his own desires to avoid the torture of it. He submitted to God when all he wanted was to let “the cup” pass. He stayed in the darkness in order to give us a way out of it. And because of this, we no longer have to stay our own worst enemy. He comes in our lives and fights off the enemy within us when we can’t. I don’t know about you, but that’s something to celebrate.