Restoration in Progress
One thing domestic abuse does very well is destroy our sense of value. We live day after day with an abuser who lies to us and tells us that we are worthless, we are at fault, we are to blame, we are no good to anyone, we are undesirable, we are unlovable, and even God has given up on us.
Those lies shred our hearts and shrink us down to the point where we believe they must all be true. Those lies damage our relationships with our families, our friends, our children, our brothers and sisters in Christ. Those lies damage our relationship with God.
Have you ever felt like Peter? He was a devoted disciple of Jesus. When Jesus was being questioned, grilled and mocked during the night of his betrayal, arrest and fake trial, Peter denied that he even knew his Lord. Not just once, or twice, but three separate times before the cock crowed.
He had been so bold during the Last Supper, bragging that he would never deny Christ, that he would even die with him if necessary. And yet later on that night….he denied the Truth. He denied the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Peter went out and wept bitterly.
Peter repented of his sin.
And yet even after seeing the risen Lord, he felt really bad and decided that fishing would probably be a more appropriate occupation for a disgraced disciple. Surely his kingdom work was finished. A couple years ago Jesus had told him and Andrew, James and John that if they left their nets and followed Him, He would make them fishers of men.
Peter knew in his heart that he was now a denier and totally disqualified for service to God. Might as well return to the whole fishing for fish thing and let someone else take that fishing for men role.
And fishing for fish wasn’t working very well for him either.
But then came the dawn. Peter and some of the other disciples saw Someone standing on the shore that morning and heard Him call out to them to try fishing on the other side of the boat. Peter had heard that command before and threw himself into the water, swimming like an olympian to the shore where indeed he stood face to face with Jesus who had already put fish filet sandwiches on the fire for them.
“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.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved 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.” (from Gospel of John, chapter 21, verses 15-17)
Peter had three opportunities to confess his love for Christ, after completely denying Him three times. Because of his repentance for his sin, Peter was restored to his Lord and Savior and even re-commissioned to return to the kingdom workforce as a shepherd of souls.
Praise God for His great mercy to us sinners!
There is mercy even for broken people who have suffered abuse.
There is plenty of mercy for those of us who never thought we could be used by God again. There is amazing grace for women who don’t know if they can ever trust a church again after the pastor believed the abuser’s lies. There is bright hope for tomorrow. And there is reason to believe God’s promises of plans that include blessings.
And here’s a list of “R” words. Will you pick a couple of them and claim them in the name of Jesus today?
May the Lord bless you and keep you today.