Quick words. Deep forgiveness.
John 21: 15-19
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ 16 A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ 17 He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’
You whispered hideous untruths.
You lost control of your temper and shouted inappropriate insults.
You dished out ‘silent treatment’ to purposefully hurt.
You disregarded and ignored to inflict pain.
Can you recall the last time you hurt a friend?
And what remains? Feelings of guilt and shame suffice as the rush of selfish gratification quickly dissipates.
But what about the emotion of deliverance we experience when we are forgiven? When we have been given a second chance! Ah, bliss, the freedom when we are reinstated as friend despite our lashing out.
Forgiveness is truly the most glorious miracle to ever ‘be performed’. Greater than the water-to-wine transformation, healing of the blind and lame or even Lazarus being raised from death.
Jean Vanier famously said, “Love is an act of endless forgiveness.”
Our passage for today echoes this truth. Peter denies Jesus three times earlier in the Gospel of John. He is shattered, absolutely distraught that he was capable of such an act of denial. Nonetheless, he dove, swam and ate with Jesus upon realising that his leader was alive.
Perhaps he instinctively knew that his shame and guilt would be overridden by the grace and mercy of Christ Jesus.
And so Jesus not only reinstates him as friend, but reassures him of his role as follower and disciple-maker. “I have forgiven you. You have been set free. Now share this Good News with everyone around you.”
Now remember this: you ARE good enough. Not because of what YOU’VE done, but because of what HE has done on the cross…
So may you continue to forgive as an act of gratitude for what’s been given to you. It is the greatest form of love.
I’ve been truly emancipated, I am free!
Nothing can separate me from Your love, Father!
No matter what I do, how much I sin; You cannot love me less, for you cannot disown yourself as my loving Father.
This truth is surely above my understanding, but I pray Lord, that your Holy Spirit will help me to make sense of it all so that it will allow this redemptive-truth to permeate through everything I do this day.