We’ve all said and done things we shouldn’t have. Sometimes, it was a mistake. Sometimes, we did it knowingly. Sometimes, we DIDN’T do something we should have.
But, the one thing all of these scenarios have in common… we feel bad NOW for something we did (or didn’t do). Maybe someone we love was hurt by our actions. Maybe someone we didn’t know needed our help… and we failed. And the worst part about it, sometimes, there is no way to go back and make it right.
In our scripture reflection this week (John 21) Jesus is addressing just such an issue with one of his closest disciples: Peter.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs”. Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep. The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me? Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17)
The back-story on this (John 18) is just such an occasion in which Peter did something he shouldn’t have… and didn’t do something he should have… and Jesus got killed. When Jesus was wrongfully arrested, Peter did not stand up for his innocent friend… instead he DID deny that he even knew Jesus. Without any support or rescue, Jesus was wrongfully convicted and executed. Imagine how BAD Peter must have felt, and how much he wanted to take it back.
Our Scripture here shows Jesus (who was resurrected) coming back to Peter to forgive him, and give him a chance to make it right. Notice, for each of the three times that Peter denied Jesus (in the back-story), Jesus gives Peter a chance to reconfirm his love.
In our broken world, forgiveness and reconciliation for all we’ve done that has hurt others is not always possible… but it IS possible with God. We DO have the chance to make things right TODAY… and by doing so, the troubles of yesterday can be put to rest.
We all need this priceless opportunity.