The lives of the people depicted in Scripture reflect the following universal truths: none of us are perfect and none of us are defined solely by our misdeeds. Like us, most biblical characters are complex. They exhibit weaknesses and strengths and they experience the range of emotions common to all humans. At times they demonstrate great faith and courage. Other times they lack faith and act out of fear. Their character flaws and weaknesses are revealed and immortalized in Scripture.
I identify most closely with the characters during their most vulnerable moments when their weaknesses are exposed. For example, I empathize and sympathize with Sarah when out of fear she lied to the Angel of the Lord by denying she laughed at His prophecy: she would bear a child in her old age (Genesis 18:9-15). I imagine the shock and fear Sarah must have felt after the Angel of the Lord acknowledged her unbelief by revealing her thoughts. It must have been terrifying for her. I don’t know how I would have responded. But, I am convinced that like Sarah my response would have been fear driven.
Similarly, I grieve for Peter every time I read about him weeping bitterly after denying Christ three times (Matthew 26:75). I visualize the great shame, dejection, and self-loathing Peter must have experienced. Like Sarah, when Peter lied he showed a lack of faith. Subsequently, Peter has become a pillar of the Christian faith.
As much as I agonize over the sufferings and defeats of the people whose narratives are etched in Scripture, I am also encouraged by and rejoice over their personal, political, and spiritual triumphs. Their life stories remind me life is a journey full of ups and downs, to err is human, and no matter how bad a thing seems where hope abides possibilities for good and growth exist. No one goes through life unscathed; but, those who produce the most positivity are deeply spiritual and have an authentic relationship with the Creator.