Though this is not a thorough character study, just go with me here. As a codependent, I find myself recognizing those characteristics in other people, even those in the Bible. Simon Peter is one of my favorite characters in the Bible because on several occasions, he just didn’t get it. (I can relate.) And yet, every now and then, his words and actions from scripture move me like none other. He was the one to whom Jesus said, “on this rock [of your confession] I will build my church.” (Matt 16:18) He was not only among the twelve disciples, he was in the inner circle of three to whom Jesus was especially close.
But Simon Peter was, for lack of a better word, flaky. In Matthew 16, Peter proclaims the message that is to be the cornerstone of the church, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Not 10 verses later, he says something that causes Jesus to look him in the eye and say, “Get behind me Satan!”
I’m not sure if I would have liked Simon Peter if I had known him in person. He flew off the handle frequently. He was ruled by his emotions. He was unpredictable and that can be scary.
Peter seemed like a guy who was much too concerned with what other people thought of him. A little codependent, maybe? At the crucifixion, he denied Jesus three times because he was afraid. Granted, in this circumstance we was probably afraid for his life. But in Galatians 2, Paul says that Peter preached equality among Jews and Gentiles, yet separated himself from the uncircumcised when his Jewish friends were around. He didn’t want to upset the circumcised group. He even swayed Barnabas.
He also seemed prone to care taking. When Jesus told the disciples he would be betrayed and killed, Peter took him aside and said, “Surely not, Lord.” He even cut off the ear of a servant when Jesus was arrested. He was trying to rescue Jesus.
Maybe it’s a stretch to say that Peter, the “rock” of the church was codependent, but at the very least I take comfort in knowing that he was far from perfect. Jesus loved Peter, despite, and maybe because of all his flaws. God used him. We all know who he was because God chose to set him up as a pillar of the church, hang-ups and all. I can rest in the fact that if God can love and use someone like Simon Peter, he can use me too.