Monday, March 05, 2007

Leaving Regrets Behind

Peter and Judas were both people who felt bitter regrets. Judas betrayed Christ to the authorities, and Peter denied that he even knew Jesus. The Scriptures tell us that both suffered bitter regrets from these actions (Matthew 26.69-27.5). But Peter and Judas had different responses. Judas was so overcome by his guilt and regret that he took his life. Peter stayed with the disciples and kept going. John 21 records the first one-on-one encounter between Jesus and Peter after his denial. The biggest thing that I notice is that Jesus did not berate Peter at all. Jesus didn't start with the "after all I've done for you..." speech. Jesus simply asked him "What's it going to be?". Are you going to follow me or not? Jesus had obviously let go of Peter's past and he invited Peter to do the same. And we know from history that Peter did.
Try this (we did this in worship Sunday): Get a piece of paper and a pen. Take time to think and pray and write down regrets you have--your "if onlys". If only I hadn't said... If only I had said... If only I had spent more time... If only I had made a different decision...
After you've got a list, give them to God. We brought them to a cross in an act of contrition in worship, but you can simply pray, "God, I give these regrets to you. I know you have let them go, help me to let them go." And then tear up your list.
Jesus was more interested in what Peter was going to do than in what he had done. Jesus had work for Peter. Jesus wants us to follow him also. Put down the past and focus on following.

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