Tag Archives: forgive

The Painful Question

“Do you love Me?”

How that question must’ve cut Peter to the bone.  I wonder if his mind went back to the words spoken just before the events began to unfold:  “you will deny me three times…” (Mark 14:30).

I wonder if Peter relived that moment at the predicted third betrayal when Jesus looked at him (Luke 22:61).  The words must’ve cut like a knife.  Why would He even give Peter the chance to respond?  Didn’t his actions say he didn’t?  He had failed Jesus miserably.  How could he answer?  I imagine just attempting to answer was excruciating.

Wasn’t it enough that Peter had failed his Lord at the most critical time?  I mean by actions, by what Peter had done and said (denied Christ) you would think his fate was sealed.  Game over – all that teaching, healing, following; all those miracles he was witness to – that life – was finished because he had let Jesus down.  He committed the unpardonable sin – he denied Christ…and he did it believing he wouldn’t!

Yet after Peter had gone back to his familiar life “BC” Jesus waited for him and the other disciples on the shoreline.  He knew His Peter; Jesus knew where to find him.  He asked him three times if he loved Him – I believe – to allow Peter to get what was between them (in Peter’s mind and heart) taken care of so he could know he was forgiven.

I love this story.  It’s a beautiful example of the forgiveness and personal affection Jesus had for Peter…and has for us. How many times have we failed?  We may not have denied Christ as obviously as Peter did – we may not have shouted the words “I don’t know Him” – but at some time or another we’ve all fallen short of loving Him.  We’ve treated people badly, we’ve willingly done something we know is wrong; we’ve essentially said, “Lord I know this doesn’t please You.  You say this is wrong but right now I love me more than You and I want this more (than I want to please you) so I’m doing it” which is the same thing.

Then after the choice is made and regret and/or remorse sets in you’re feeling the sting of knowing you messed up. But look.  There He is, waiting for you to come to Him and settle it. Do you love Him?  Say it.  Are you sorry?  Say it. Let His words cut you deep so that you have to go to Him and settle it. He’s waiting.

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Forgiveness

“Forgiveness does not create a relationship.  Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible.  When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgement, but without true change, no real relationship can be established.”  Wm Paul Young, The Shack

“I’m sorry” isn’t required but it would be nice, wouldn’t it?  Somehow someone acknowledging they caused great pain is great medicine for our woundedness but a lot of times that doesn’t happen.  Someone once said “when someone lies to you or about you, they feel you’re not worthy of the truth”.  That hits home…someone who lies about you and to you doesn’t feel you’re worthy of the truth.  Why would we want them in our lives, to allow them to make us feel more unworthy of truth and love than we already do?

I’ve never been one to just go along.  I believe forgiveness IS possible without ever having to see or speak to someone again and when it’s gone on for as long as one can remember, I think it’s best, especially when there is no change in behavior “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” Matthew 7:17.  Owning up to what we’ve done, taking responsibility, is the best thing.  Some are incapable of that.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t like admitting my atrocities… it’s unpleasant and humbling but I always feel better and KNOW it’s right when I do.

Hope is a wonderful thing.  HOPING someone will change and see what they have done then change accordingly is always in order.  Praying for them is always, always right.  Ask God for them to open their hearts and eyes to see the realness of what has been done and ask Him to give them the desire to change and the courage to act upon that desire.

Until then, it’s okay if you don’t get back in with them.  We need to just be sure we’re “clean” – we must deal with our anger, hurt and disappointment in a godly way and the only way to do that is to take it to Him until it’s gone which sometimes takes a very long time.  I’ve found I don’t feel anything but pity for those who hurt me because they’re blinded by their version of self-justification and the lies they’ve come to believe.  We don’t have to be that way.  “It is what it is”, is one of my favorite sayings and that means to me, ONLY God can change it, I have to accept it and what I DO WITH IT is paramount.

We can allow that hurt to fester in many ways and change us, or we can truly desire to heal from it, forgive and get on with our lives.

We can choose forgiveness.  We can choose to let it go and go on and be better because of it and thankful we survived it.  Some didn’t.

I choose forgiveness; I pray you do too.

“Then Peter came and said to Him, Lord how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?  Up to seven times?  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”  Matthew 18:21-22