Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The John 21 Conversation

Photo by Kaushik Panchal on Unsplash

Failure is an integral part our future. Humiliation is a key step in growth. Embarrassment is necessary for a heart to steel itself for more. Disgrace is not the end, but the beginning.
A resounding biblical example: Peter. He denies his Lord three times. And what does the risen Lord immediately do on the other side of the cross? Three times He restores Peter. Even as it happens that Peter fails Jesus three times, three times Jesus restores Peter — ‘Feed my sheep.’ Interestingly, that restoration was not about checking Peter’s love. It was about giving Peter the opportunity to hear himself say those words in his own voice, ‘I love you, Lord’. Jesus wasn’t patronising Peter in making him repeat himself. He wanted to propound in Peter’s presence that not only was he forgiven, but he’s restored to what he’s called to do — to lead God’s early church.
In the restoration of Peter, Jesus empowers him immediately with leadership of the church.
There’s no holding Peter back. There’s no grudge borne. There’s no criticism for a lack of loyalty. There’s no punishment. There’s no consequences. There’s only empowering and release. There’s only intimacy.
God is seeking to hold
John 21 conversations with us all.
In this age, as in any age, the gospel imperative is not about holding people back. It’s not about holding people back to pay for their failures. They repent, and we relent. Anyone who would hold a person to their damaged reputation should rethink it. Certainly, any spiritual leader. There is nothing like a godly contrition to prepare a godly heart for the future.
There is a rebuilding God wants to do in us; it’s part of something bigger; it’s God’s equipping for an even greater purpose. And failure prompts it.
God cannot use us as generous instruments of His grace
unless we’ve first been scorned by, and forgiven of, failure.
On the other side of a castigating failure, Jesus is saying to us, ‘Okay, are you ready… you love Me, right?’ It’s a rhetorical question. Jesus knows the answer, that we love Him. And if we truly love him, and never deeper than through redemption after failure, He will give us something to do that is incredibly important to Him, and that thing will be something incredibly meaningful for us.
When failure causes us to cease our wrongdoing, where it brings us to closer to God, contrition manifests a blessed anointing. Such a beginning out of darkness’s end is bright like the sun of new-day dawn.
Biblical leaders will sense the quality of a person’s godly sorrow for failure and, like Jesus, they will resurrect their hope by releasing them into deeper nuances of the Kingdom work, which is the commendation a contrite heart enjoys.
Jesus did it and so should we. That is to deepen relationships for the work ahead through forgiveness.

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