Loving Through Offense

Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins.

1 PETER 4:8

There’s no one better to teach us about loving through offences than the very definition of forgiveness Himself, Jesus Christ. Jesus forgave every offence committed against Him and He calls us, His children, to do the same. One of the worst betrayals in His life you will see came from the ones closest to His heart; the ones He poured so much of Himself into.

Peter was not an ordinary disciple- he and Christ were legit the only ones we know who walked on water. He was the one who had the revelation of Jesus as the Messiah. We read about his closeness with God and we never would’ve suspected him to double-cross Jesus, not by a long shot. Ironically it’s the people we love the most that hurt us the most.  The greater the intimacy, the greater the opportunity for offence.

King David laments that it was not an enemy that insulted him; then he could bear it. But it was a close friend, the one who walked with him to the house of God in the crowd. Despite being warned in advance about his soon-to-be betrayal, Peter commits the misdeed anyway.

Three time he denies his Lord. At the third time we see an immediate RESPONSE from Jesus.

But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter.

LUKE 22: 60-61

Immediately while the offence is being committed, condemnation rears its ugly head and crows. But at that moment as well Jesus provides His refuge.

When offences occur in our lives, are we listening to condemnation or looking at Jesus?

He’s on His way to the high priest with the weight of the world on His shoulders but takes the time to stop and look for Peter at the moment He had every right to say ‘I told you so’. We don’t see Him acknowledging the offence but we see Him acknowledging Peter.

When we harbour a grudge, we engage with the offence, but when we respond to the person, we engage in forgiveness. And it has to be done and dealt with immediately.

 

The next time Jesus sees Peter, it is after His resurrection. Peter is the first person mentioned in Paul’s list of witnesses, the first of the apostles to see the risen Christ.

The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!

LUKE 24:34

That’s odd. Why would Jesus, in the moment of His grandest victory over sin and death, waste His time and power appearing to Benedict Arnold? He not only goes to find him first thing in the morning, he doesn’t bring up the past when they meet AND He cooks him breakfast!

Jesus seeks out Peter, actively looking to RESTORE and RECONCILE.

We are so conditioned to wait for the apology. Have some dignity, man. Let them come crawling back to you. But here Jesus seeks Peter intentionally to reconcile. Not to hash out or talk about what he did, He seemed to moved past all that in the courtyard before His death.

Did Jesus even get what we call ‘closure’?

So many times we’re waiting for the person who hurt us to come crawling back, but Jesus goes looking for the guy who 3 days ago didn’t even want to be seen with him. 

What is this template He was giving us for reconciliation?

The Apostle Paul tells us we are given the ministry of reconciliation, to implore men to get right with God. But how can we tell our fellow brothers and sisters to get right with God if WE cannot get right with them?! Leave your gift at the altar and go make things right with your brother. Don’t think you can worship God if you don’t know how to treat the people around you well.

 

After Jesus reconciles with Peter, He gives him three commands: “Feed my lambs” / “Take care of my sheep” / “Feed my sheep. What is Jesus doing? He is re-commissioning Peter as an apostle and leader in the church. At this point I just upfront told God, “I’m not the best judge of character, but Peter is someone who abandoned You in Your greatest hour of need. He deserted You when You needed him most. And this is the guy you want to put in global pastoral care?!”

When people hurt us, sometimes we don’t even see them as Christians let alone as having a calling in their lives. But Jesus RELEASES Peter to do greater things that He ever did in His ministry on earth. We see from His example that our forgiveness has the ability to empower people to go further in their calling.

God has given us another way to deal with offence that is unlike the world.

Respond-Reconcile-Release

And every step is initiated by the offended person.

There is no one like Jesus, no one better to teach us about forgiveness, about loving through offences. We need this, because the times are coming and is already here where satan will pit us against one another and as a church we need to master forgiveness because God is not coming back for an unforgiving bride.

In the last supper, Jesus knows He is about to be betrayed by Judas, He knows Peter is about to deny Him and He knows every one of His disciples will flee and desert Him. But the Bible paints His frame of mind right before all these things are about to take place;

He had loved His disciples during His ministry on earth, and now He loved them to the very end.

JOHN 13:1

What a fierce and intense lasting love in the middle of offence!

It was the Apostle Peter who said;

Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins.

1 PETER 4:8

I guess no one would’ve understood intense love better than the one who freely received it at the moment he deserved it least. My prayer is that we would all maintain intense love for one another just as Jesus did.

 

Much love,

Sumi

 

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