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Summary: Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, we get in God’s way. Trying to do the right thing can sometimes be the devilish thing.

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Helping God or Enabling Satan?

Matt 16:21-25

We often think we can help God’s purposes along by doing what we think is good, loving, helpful, and noble.

Some ways in which doing the right thing can be the wrong thing:

*Bailing a loved one out of a dilemma--avoid facing consequences

*Helping out of a bind--avoid learning the hard lesson of responsibility

*Defending them when you don’t have the facts--your precious angel may a holy terror behind your back

*Avoiding criticism we need to make--would you rather hurt their feelings or watch them self-destruct?

*Hanging on to the past, either pain or people or places--fear that letting go means dropping our crutches and security blankets

THE RESULT IS:

Enabling: offering the opportunity to do it again.

*Provide an escape instead of forcing them to face the issue,

*A chance to dodge the consequences.

*Never feel the pain of a wrong choice.

*False confidence that you will always save them.

Peter sought to do something like this. To prevent an innocent man from suffering public humiliation, agony, pain, torturous death--that’s a good thing. And every single one of us would have an eternity in hell if he had succeeded.

THE DIVINE PERSPECTIVE:

How does God view our effort in a situation like this? v. 23

Jesus uses the word "Savor," which comes from the same word used in Romans 8.5-6, "minded", what the mind is focused on.

Col 3.2

MUST I STAND HERE HELPLESSLY AND JUST WATCH?

It was the Plan for Jesus to go to the cross. To most of us, suffering or pain in any form is the most awful thing to watch. Peter simply wanted to prevent it from happening. Sometimes we do this---our best intentions become devilish. Understand some things:

*stuff happened, happens today, and will happen tomorrow.

*stuff happens but it does not go unnoticed nor catch Him by surprise.

*stuff happens but that stuff can be used to fulfill His plan.

*stuff causes pain, but there is not a pain that He has not endured

**Examine yourself--are God’s priorities my priorities?

*What brought about this situation?

*Will my involvement/rescue operation result in keeping my loved one from being confronted with personal sin?

(what if prodigal dad bailed him out)

*Will my involvement possibly thwart what God is trying to build in this person?

Conc. To achieve what the Lord wants often involves pain--because to be like Christ is to be in pain. We must allow some to suffer the painful consequences of wrong choices so that they might come to repentance. Christ’s suffering, of course, was not because of His wrong choices--it was because of ours! yet for Him to be obedient, He must go to Calvary. In John 18:10-11, Peter defends Christ by cutting off a soldier’s ear. "Then said Jesus unto Peter, ’Put up your sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?’" What if Peter had killed the soldier, and they crucified Peter instead?

God’s purposes are not always easy to accept. But in the long run, they are best.

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