Texture by Kim Klassen; Follow, 2 layers at 100% soft light with selective masking
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. ~1 Peter 5:7
Well, Peter would certainly know about anxiety.
I’ve done a character study on Peter before but he is just so much fun to pick on. The Peter in the bible is such a mess of contradictions: bravado and cowardice; pride and shame; total moral collapse and restoration. The list goes on.
We know him now as the one of the patriarchs of Christianity. Born Simon, Jesus renamed him Peter (aka The Rock) and foretold he would build his church on him.
Peter, the one who denied Christ not one…not two…but three times to save his own hide. The same man that boasted he would never leave or deny Jesus.
But have you ever put yourself in Peter’s shoes? Have you ever thought what he went through during that last year of JC’s life? Have you ever stopped to realize just how dark a place his soul was in after betraying his Lord by denying his affiliation with him?
Guilt and shame. That’s probably what Peter was feeling that day after JC’s arrest and sham of a trial. And after the crucifixion, can you imaging the level of guilt and shame that Peter felt?
But while they are often linked together, there’s a difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is acknowledging we’ve done something wrong. Shame is feeling we are wrong and not of any value because of our actions.
A healthy dose of guilt will keep us from repeating wrongdoings. But shame destroys the soul. Shame puts us in dark places where we question our worth as an individual.
And that’s probably where Peter was. His bravado the night before in the garden when jumping in front of a Roman guard, brandishing his sword and cutting off his ear turned to cowardice when confronted after JC’s arrest. By his own moral standards, he had sunk to a new low.
Build his church on such a failure? You’re kidding, right?
But JC was not kidding. Not in the slightest. He’d told Peter he knew he would deny him before the rooster crowed the next morning. He knew he would cut and run as soon as the situation got scary. But not only did Peter refuse to believe him, he also lost faith in himself when it did happen. Shame and embarrassment over what he did began to devour his mind and heart.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~1 Peter 5:8
But Jesus wasn’t ashamed of Peter despite his actions and failure as a disciple. He didn’t need Peter to advance his message….he wanted him. He wanted Peter even though he betrayed him.
Sounds like a serious contradiction, doesn’t it? We’re all about shutting out those who betray us. We turn our backs on those who hurt us. We wash our hands of people who don’t live up to our standards.
But JC sees things a bit differently. After his resurrection, Jesus appears to his disciples, meets Peter in that dark place and has a few choice words for him.
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.
Grace is resistible. Through fear or pride, we often ignore God’s grace in our lives…especially after we screw up and fail in the faithfulness department. What JC did with Peter during this interchange was to meet him in that dark place of guilt and shame and rescue him….redeem and restore him spiritually.
And once Peter realized his shame was not going to keep Jesus from loving him or forgiving him, he became the champion of champions for God’s message. Heck, he became the poster child for forgiveness of screw ups and failures.
So, once again, we learn from Peter. We learn not to avoid those dark places. The dark places where guilt and shame eat away at our souls and keep us from a close relationship with our Creator. We need to own our failures, face our failures and know that we can be forgiven and enjoy the same redemption Peter did.
Because the Creator of the Universe doesn’t need us….he wants us.
Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Texture Twist and LTTL