Read: Matthew 16:21-23
Believers are called to be compassionate, (Col. 3:12), but we must show discernment even when practicing kindness. At times, stepping into another person’s life puts us in God’s way. I learned this lesson the hard way. In times past, I have: met a need when the Lord was trying to draw someone into a life of spiritual dependence; offered comfort when our Father intended that a heartbroken believer seek His solace; and bailed a desperate person out of trouble before he learned God’s lesson. (The fellow from this last example was shortly in the same bad situation again.) Nowadays, I pray before acting upon sympathetic feelings.
Peter once allowed feelings to cloud his discernment too. Attempting to interfere in the divine plan for Jesus Christ was an experience that he likely never forgot.
Though Peter knew exactly who Jesus was—namely, the Messiah and Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16)—he also held common Jewish misconceptions about the Messiah’s mission. Many Israelites awaited a king who would overthrow Roman rule. Consequently, Peter refused to accept Jesus’ warnings of the judgment, mistreatment, and death He anticipated. After trying to convince the Lord that such an end was attempting to subvert God’s will.
Peter had a narrow view of God’s plan. The Lord’s priority was to liberate hearts from sin rather than bodies from tyranny. Peter’s wrong perceptions led him into open rebellion. Do not make his mistake. Seek God’s will before offering compassionate aid, lest you block His unfolding plan.