One day, I went to church for a prayer meeting. Usually, during our prayers meeting the pastor instructs us to pray for one another. However, on this day he instructed us to pray for ourselves. Suddenly, I was petrified, in my mind I was thinking ‘But I did not come for that, I came to pray for people.’
Even though I tried, I could not pray for myself. Strange, but real. As I was seeing everyone around me praying for themselves, I tried to open my mouth to pray, but nothing came out, so I began to stare at the ceiling.
As soon as I got back home, I spent some time with the Lord and realised that the reason why I could not pray for myself was due to lack of self-esteem. I believed that I did not deserve God’s attention – why? Simply because I could not forgive myself for a sin I had previously committed. Although I had sincerely repented and knew that God had forgiven my sins, I still locked myself up in self-condemnation. The self-condemnation turned into a lack of self-love. I believed that I did not deserve anything, not even God’s attention towards me.
What about you ? Have you ever experienced this kind of feeling ? Have you ever felt unworthy because of your past sins, even though you have already repented ?
Remember the Bible tells us that if we repent, God is just and faithful to forgive us.
‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ 1John 1 :9 (New King James version)
Throughout the story of Peter, Jesus illustrates the power of forgiveness and how much His love for us overcomes all of our trespasses, if we repent with a sincere heart.
Peter was one of Jesus’ disciples, he was also Jesus’ friend and he loved him deeply. When the soldiers sent by the Pharisees came to arrest Jesus, Peter was the disciple who drew his sword and cut off the right ear of one of them to defend Jesus.
‘Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”’ John 18 :10-11 (NKJV)
He was also the disciple who denied Jesus three times when He was about to be crucified. He denied his closest friend and his mentor, he denied God not only once but thrice.
‘Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?”
He said, “I am not.”’ John 18 :17 (NKJV)
‘Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?”
He denied it and said, “I am not!”’ John 18 :25 (NKJV)
‘One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” 27 Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.’ John 18 :26-27 (NKJV)
Can you imagine the extent of the betrayal?
Fortunately, we serve a God full of love and mercy. God is capable of using the greatest sinner for His glory.
That’s the reason why He forgave Peter, He also used him to build His church, the first chapters of the book of the acts of apostle illustrates this. In the same way that Peter denied Jesus three time, he also testified of his love for Jesus three times. When Jesus appeared to His disciples after His death, He instructed Peter and gave him a very specific mission, which was to feed His sheep. The food represents the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the sheep represent the nations who need to receive the gospel in order to be saved.
‘He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.’ John 21 :17 (NKJV)
If Peter stayed in self-condemnation and lacked self-love, he would not have been the precursor of the Church and would not have been able to express love for the sheep and bring the gospel to the nations.
‘And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’’ Matthew 22 :39 (NKJV)
Today, you must know that if you have repented with a sincere heart, God has heard you and forgiven you. Do not let your past gnaw you, but be free from the chains of condemnation. The Lord, that you have offended has forgiven you.
With forgiveness comes love. It is important to love yourself, otherwise, how can you realise the second commandment of God ? If you do not love yourself, you cannot love others, so you end up not following God’s commands and when you do not follow God’s commands, you cannot please him. Remember what Jesus said to us regarding those who keep his commandments.
‘ He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”’ John 14 :21 (NKJV)
Finally, the Lord wants you to be His instrument as Peter was for the Church. The Holy Spirit cannot move inside of you if you carry condemnation and lack self-love.
Indeed, Peter was renewed by Jesus before he received the Holy Spirit, who helped him to complete the mission given by our savior Jesus Christ.
Stay blessed 🙂
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