The British Government is currently trying to pass a controversial piece of legislation: the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. In the latest instalment the bill has suffered several defeats and amendments in the House of Lords. Most stunningly amongst the latter was a requirement that police officers should tell the truth in public enquiries. Well, it may just be me, but I had assumed that one of the most basic requirements for someone tasked with upholding the law, would be an expectation to always tell the truth. The fact that this can’t be assumed tells us much about human nature and our instinctive compulsion to cover our own backs. Sometimes we just can’t help ourselves.
The Bible records just such an occasion. The night before Jesus’ crucifixion, Simon Peter was asked three times whether he knew Jesus. Fearful of the consequences if he told the truth, he chose to cover his back and denied having ever met him. It was a decision he quickly regretted. The good news for Simon Peter, and for us when we make the same mistake, is that Jesus is always willing to forgive those who own up. He forgave Simon Peter for lying and he’ll forgive us too!