You know you are growing when you are no longer ignoring your weaknesses and faults.
I have been looking very closely at my heart in the last few weeks. It’s been placed under a microscope having taken off those rose coloured spectacles when examining the state of my own, fleshly heart.
I have to tell you…I have not enjoyed all that I have seen. It is far less righteous than I once thought it to be. It is quite messy actually. There is a whole host of things I would so like to ignore but if I am to be fully real and more so, transparent with myself, I am going to have to face the reality of the full range of my shortcomings.
There once was who found himself in a tough situation. He had faithfully followed a teacher who he had believed in without question for three years. This teacher told him one day that he would one day question his devotion to him and run from it. But this man could not agree with his teacher – in fact – he vehemently disagreed.
The time came as the teacher had said it would and he did exactly as it was foretold. His teacher was held in accusation by the authorities, his reputation in shreds and they labelled him with all manner of lies and abhorrent crimes.
But what of the faithful follower?
Now would be the test.
Now would be the time to show his teacher wrong but instead he turned his face from his teacher and pretended he has never met the man.
Not just once but three times over he denied not just ever knowing him but he denied that he has never seen this man before with great purpose.
The third time he did this, he heard in the quite, misty distance, a cock crowing three times.
His teacher was right…
He had turned his back on him
Three times he chose this action
Who was this man?
This mans’ name was Simon Peter (Kefa)
The teacher’s name was Yeshua
After this he watched his teacher tortured and ridiculed. He watched whom he knew to be an innocent man, crucified.
He must have wept. Not just with sorrow at what had been done to his teacher, his friend. He must have wept with the deepest, most heart wrenching guilt and regret.
What he had done was almost – if not the same – as Judas’s actions of betrayal of Yeshua.
How could Peter every overcome this place he was in. The shame that covered him must have been overwhelming. He might have received sad, sorrowful glances from the other followers and onlookers.
How could he do this to his beloved teacher?
What a pitiful picture of a man….
The day came when Yeshua, Peter’s teacher, defied death and arose from His tomb. He joined his followers and was eating a meal with them when He looked at Peter and asked him if he loved Him. To which Peter “Yes, lord, you know I am your friend. Yeshua replied, “ Feed my lambs.”
Again Yeshua asked him if he loved Him. And Peter responded, “Yes, lord, you know I am your friend.” And Yeshua responded, “Shepherd my sheep.”
A third time Yeshua asked Peter if he was His friend. And Peter replied, “Lord, you know everything. You know I am your friend!” And Yeshua responded, “Feed my sheep.”
Three times Peter denied Yeshua and three times he was restored by the very man he denied. This to me is one of the purest examples of forgiveness. This is how I believe we are to forgive. Forgive into a place of complete restoration.
Peter was forgiven and completely restored and then commanded to take care of those who would believe and did believe in Yeshua HaMashiach (anointed One).
This Peter went on to bring 3000 people to salvation and not once do we ever read of the other disciples reminding him of his grievous sin of denial. He was completely restored in their eyes too.
Do we forgive this way?
Do we allow for others to fully walk in forgiveness and restoration?
Or do we continue to remind them of their past sins and failures, never allowing them the joy of knowing redemption, grace and wholeness because we are still hurting or offended by their past actions.
If anyone had reason to walk away and never meet with a man again, let alone have a meal with him, Yeshua did.
Yeshua, models true forgiveness and the walking of restoration for those whose hearts are fully turned to Him.
I want to forgive like this.
Yeshua did so I should.
Who am I to withhold forgiveness and deny restoration?
And I need to be forgiven and restored like this too.
It comes down to….
The choice to forgive
The choice to make a way for restoration
This world needs a change of heart
I choose to start HERE
I choose to start NOW