Perhaps it is difficult from time to time to not be who we have always been. Are the words of Peter in John 21:21 remarkable to anyone else? Remember the setting, Jesus has just put Peter through a difficult, yet tender, test by asking the apostle of his love for his Lord three times (John 21:15-17). This was then followed by the sobering prophecy which spoke to the suffering of Peter in the future (John 21:18-19). Yet, Peter was evidently faced with being who he had always been. For in the midst of the heartache of being confronted with the triple denial of his Lord and Savior, as well as, the solemn reality of the future, Peter evidently thought that he needed to make sure that others were doing their job or receiving their just admonition. So looking at the Apostle John, he asked Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”
Consider the Lord’s reply, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” (John 21:22)
Did Peter not have enough to consider and do in regard to his own life? Remember it was Peter who boastfully said that even if all the other apostle, including John, were to forsake Jesus, he would not, even to the point of death, (Matthew 26:33, 35). Everyone knows how well that went. Now Peter thinks he needs to know the fate of John. This might imply that Peter wanted to judge if the destiny of John met with his approval. At the very least, it suggests that Peter was questioning the actions or decisions of Jesus, God the Son.
Jesus basically tells Peter to do his own work, to live his own life, and to mind his own business, (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Jesus makes it clear that he neither needed nor desired Peter’s input or evaluation in regard to John. Jesus pretty much told Peter to stay in his own lane.
Sometimes, we can be like Peter in this regard. We have our own duties and challenges in life, but we feel compelled to evaluate, advise, or even implement the work of others. Though well meaning, we can often get in the way of progress and success. On other occasions, we cause serious harm by acting abruptly based on what we think (we are so sure) we know. Of course, there is the dreaded, “Well, that’s not the way I would have done that.” We should all recognize that unsolicited advice, armchair quarterbacking, and backseat driving are seldom well received. Especially, when they come from folks we perceive to be interjecting themselves where they do not belong.
Some circumstances can make this difficult. Yet, parents not following our own approved plan for child-rearing does not give us a license to act as the child’s parent. If a Bible class teacher is teaching the truth accurately while taking a different approach of which we do not care for, the best course of action is not to try taking over the class. For time to time, we may observe behavior of a brother or sister that may seem less than appropriate and we do not observe anyone offering any admonition. It would be presumptuous to assume that nothing will done and thus appoint ourselves as the administrator of correction. When all is said and done, grandparents and others should not seek to take the place of parents, students should not usurp the authority of teachers, and preachers and members should not seek to assume the role of shepherd. These are similar to the fact that the disciple should not get in the lane of the Lord, and let him be the Lord.
The flow on the highway of righteousness and life is much smoother when I find my lane, fulfill its calling to the very best of my ability, and stay in it.