For most of the wrongs we’ve done, we’ve been grateful and eager to accept God’s forgiveness. But sometimes we’re so shocked or ashamed or heartbroken over what we’ve done that we find it hard to believe God could really forgive us. Yet God does forgive us – and, he desires to restore us. He wants to redirect the course of our life for his service. But this can’t begin until we receive God’s forgiveness and forgive ourselves.
Peter had once sworn his love for Jesus. He pledged even to die with Jesus if necessary. Yet the same night after Jesus was arrested, Peter sheepishly denied that he even knew Jesus. Jesus wasn’t surprised; he had already told Peter that Peter would deny knowing him three times. Jesus was ready to forgive Peter before he even betrayed Jesus — but Peter had a hard time forgiving himself. (Read Luke 22:54-62)
After Jesus rose from the dead he asked Peter three times if Peter loved him. Peter had already denied him three times, but Jesus gave him the chance to reaffirm his love three times. Jesus reached out to Peter! (Read John 21:15-17)
When we’re disheartened by the things we’ve done, it can be difficult to receive God’s forgiveness. But God reaches out to us just as he reached out to Peter. Once we confess our sins, we need to let go of them! The story of Peter is a story of forgiveness and encouragement. Once Peter accepted God’s forgiveness, God was able to build him up and use him for His great purposes.
Being a new person in Christ is to experience the freedom that is a result of complete forgiveness of the old man. You may not ‘feel‘ like you have been forgiven because of the shame that sin has created. The truth is that the forgiveness you have received is real and as you begin to focus on the forgiveness you have been given, you will begin to feel free and be able to step into your new life!
What happened to Peter can happen to us. Jesus does not lock us in by our mistakes. He gives us room to outgrow our mistakes so he can build us up and put us to work for him! As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:17, “this means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
Make the choice today to ask for forgiveness and begin your new life! It is yours for the asking!