We are taught from a young age the importance of forgiveness. There are a million famous quote about how forgiving makes you brave, makes you strong, makes you the bigger person. When you feel you deserve an apology and you get it, forgiving the person who wronged you can smooth the path for both of you.
But what about what it takes to ASK for forgiveness? Especially when you’ve done something that really hurt someone? When we know that we’ve done something wrong, the guilt and shame we feel doubles when we try to ask for forgiveness because we have to see our fault reflected in the eyes of the person that we hurt. Sometimes, it may seem easier just to keep it to
Take for example, Peter, Jesus’ right hand man, his best friend, who said in front of all the disciples at the last supper that he would always stand by Jesus and would even die for him. But later that night, when Jesus is taken away by the priests and guards, when Peter is asked if he knows Jesus, he denies it three times. He betrays his best friend in his hour of need and what is worse, he never gets another chance before Jesus is killed to ask for forgiveness. Hard to imagine a situation harder to come from than that…right?
But then we hear the story of how Jesus, after rising from the dead, appears to Peter and the other apostles as they are fishing. Without hesitation, even knowing that he committed such a serious betrayal against his friend, Peter can’t even wait for the boat to come to shore. He leaps out of the boat and gets to Jesus as fast as he can. He didn’t know where he stood or if Jesus would be mad, but his love for his friend trumped the guilt and shame of his betrayal. Jesus shows mercy to Peter welcomes him back with open arms.
Let’s take a lesson from the story of how Peter leaped off the boat. Let us let the love that we have for those we have wronged overwhelm the pain of admitting that we’ve made a mistake. Let’s be bold in our efforts to do right. Let us remember, when WE are asked for forgiveness, the strength it took to ask, and let us show mercy in return.