|Good Morning Everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “You are loved”
Our Bible verse for today: “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Forgiveness and restoration is an act of love.”
Is there a pain greater than to be betrayed by someone you love and trust? I suspect not. We can accept and deal with wounds from an enemy, but the betrayal of a loved one feels like a knife in the heart. Jesus experienced this twice in His earthly ministry. Two of His closest disciples badly betrayed Him, Judas and Peter. Judas turned Him over to the religious authorities and helped to arrange for His arrest ((Luke 22:1-6). After the arrest, Peter denied three times that He even knew Jesus (Luke 22:54-62).
The difference between Judas and Peter was that Peter confessed and repented of His betrayal, but Judas never did. In Matthew 27:1-10 we read that Judas was in fact remorseful, and he did regret what he had done, but He never went back to Jesus and asked for forgiveness. Instead he went out and hung himself. Peter on the other hand went to the resurrected Jesus, professed his love for Him three times, and was fully restored in his relationship with the Lord (John 21:15-23). He then went on to have a productive life of ministry and he was a blessing to many people. That’s what Jesus had been praying for with respect to Peter in Luke 22:32.
No matter what you have done, you can be forgiven. The relationship can be restored and you can go on to great things in life. But you do have to confess, repent, and change your ways. That is certainly true with respect to our relationship with God, but it is also true in our relationships with other people – especially those we are close to and who we have wronged. Full confession with no excuses, combined with a genuine desire to avoid similar sin or betrayal in the future, and with a sincere effort to correct the damage if possible, all can lead to full restoration and a much better future. Again, that’s true with God in the larger sense, but it’s also true in our relationships with other people.
Too often we try to repent quietly and privately, in our own head, usually with a resolve to not do the thing again. But that’s only going half-way in your repentance. That makes us like Judas, being remorseful internally but without making an effort to make things right with those we have wronged. That wasn’t sufficient for Judas and it’s not enough for us either. I personally think Jesus would have forgiven Judas if he had only sought forgiveness. But, sadly, he didn’t.
Forgiveness, followed by restoration, is an act of love. But as was noted in yesterday’s devotional, confession and repentance is the prelude to restoration. God’s love for you is unconditional, that’s true, but if there is unresolved sin then the relationship is still damaged. If you don’t confess and repent, you don’t get restored. Just ask Judas.
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