When Jesus rose from the grave, one of the first things He did was to find His disciples and comfort them. Think about that! These are the same disciples who ran away and deserted Him in His greatest hour of need. Jesus would have been totally justified in giving up on the lot of them and starting over with 12 fresh new disciples. I probably would have. But He didn’t. He called them brothers and dined with them and gave them His mission to make disciples of all nations.
And there’s Peter. The one who betrayed Him. The one who denied that he knew Him. He singled Peter out and got Peter to affirm his love for Jesus for every time he had denied him. These 12 men went on to radically transform the entire world. No, wait. Jesus sent His Holy Spirit, who radically transformed the entire known world through the availability of 12 former traitors.
Can God use me after I have failed Him? Can God use you after you have royally messed up? The answer to the question is a resounding YES! God can take brokenness and make something beautiful out of it. God can take a disastrous mistake and turn into the start of something dynamic and revolutionary.
So what do I do with people who have failed me? What hopefully should people whom I have failed (God willing!) do? We should be like Jesus in this and forgive them. Forgiveness is a beautiful word to me because I see daily just how much I need it and how much I need to give it. While giving up on someone is sometimes the proper thing to do, giving second chances is the better thing to do (unless they are intentionally trying to do you harm, in which case you forgive but don’t give them the chance to hurt you again).
Jesus, give me the strength to live this out and by forgiving enable people to come out of shame and into Your glorious light. Help me to remember that as I forgive them, You will forgive me. I can’t do this on my own. I will need You every step of the way. Have Your way in me.
As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.