Put yourself in Peter’s shoes for a moment. You have just failed your teacher, your friends, and yourself by denying Jesus three times before his death. The spin cycle of shame, guilt, frustration, denial, fear, etc., becomes like a heavy chain. It was probably overwhelming for Peter.
I remember missed tackles in football, or failing exams that I studied for. These things don’t bother me too much anymore, however, in my mind I replay times when I was rude to people, hurt the people I love, let someone down, and those are the failings that put the weight of shame around my neck. All I want to do is hide from it all, kind of like how Peter went back to fishing. I can still remember the look on my wife’s face when I said something hurtful, I can still feel the humiliation of tripping and falling in front of all my friends, and the hurt I caused when I lived only for myself (I can relate to hiding on a boat like Peter). My mind can be like a heavy chain that won’t let me escape the past if I let it.
Peter could not escape, but he could be distracted. Fishing was a way to get his mind off what just happened. Do you ever do that? Maybe you watch television, read a book, scroll through social media, or dive into a hobby. Jesus knew that isn’t what Peter needed because the chain of shame would only get heavier. Jesus came to Peter to restore and reinstate, so the chain could be broken.
Jesus takes our failures, our shame, our guilt, and gives us his love, forgiveness, hope and purpose. We are no longer condemned (Romans 8:1), we are now called (John 15:16), so let’s live with the freedom that comes in the calling (Ephesians 4:1-3). Let Jesus break the chain. (CLICK HERE to view song video.)
Do you have any chains of shame weighing you down? Why do you think it is too big for Jesus to break? Can you talk to him now, tell him what it is and accept his forgiveness?
By Jeremy Johnson
Director of Men’s Ministry
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