ODJ: after bad decisions

September 25, 2014 

READ: Luke 22:31-38 

Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers (vv.31-32).

I have a soft spot for the apostle Peter, partly because we share the same name and partly because we’re both prone to making dumb decisions. In Luke 22 we find a prelude to one of Peter’s greatest missteps—the denial of Jesus (vv.54-62).
What strikes me about this passage is that Jesus knew Peter was going to fail big time. Despite His passionate insistence, Peter would deny Jesus not once, but three times (v.34). Jesus was fully aware of this and even predicted that it would happen. But these verses also reveal that not only did Jesus know of Peter’s impending failure, but He was also actively interceding for him. He looked forward to the day when Peter would repent and He would forgive him (v.32). A plan for Peter to move forward was already in place.

Jesus’ response to Peter’s failure wasn’t simply to point it out—it involved intercession, forgiveness and restoration! And this dynamic can also be seen in the life of the apostle Paul. God’s plan wasn’t simply to judge him for his grave crimes, but to heal him and use him as an instrument to proclaim the good news of Jesus (Acts 9:15-16).

These accounts from Peter and Paul’s lives give me great encouragement. For I know that when I make mistakes, Jesus doesn’t leave me in my sin—He has a comprehensive plan to restore me. But I’m also challenged by what the two apostles experienced, for how do I treat others when they make bad decisions? Is it the same way that Jesus treats me?

Unfortunately, the answer more often than not is “no”. May we all truly grasp the meaning of the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35): What God did for me, I should in turn offer to others.

—Peter Chin

365-day plan› Mark 15:6-24

Read Ephesians 2:1-10 for a beautiful description of God’s plans for us. 
How does the apostle Peter’s story change your perspective on mistakes and bad decisions? How can you learn to be more forgiving when people fail you?