Hope for Knuckleheads


You stubborn and hardheaded people. —Acts 7:51, CEV

Knuckleheads—hardheaded, stubborn, limited in perspective, and unwilling to change. I often use this phrase to describe young men with whom I work. I credit them for the many white hairs that have emerged in my goatee.

The truth is we’re all knuckleheads.

I’m a knucklehead; I hate admitting I’m wrong!

Peter in the Bible was a knucklehead. Jesus told him, “Repent!” In others words, see yourself rightly—you don’t know everything and you need help. “Believe.” See me (Jesus) rightly—I’m like you but not like you; only I can turn your thinking upside down and your world right side up. “Obey.” Take what I teach you and apply it to your life.

Faith weaves all three—repentance, belief, and obedience—together. However, it often doesn’t come all at once. Peter realized his way wasn’t right; that’s why he started following Jesus (Mark 1:17). Later Peter came to the conclusion that Jesus was not just a teacher but something so much more (Matt. 16:16). Obedience though didn’t come until after Jesus died, was resurrected, and sent His Spirit (1 Pet. 1:14, 22). Even then Peter still had things to learn (Acts 11).

When I’m frustrated at myself or with others, it’s worth remembering—faith is a process, not an address.