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Apr 05 2015

IT COULD NEVER BE THE SAME AFTER WHAT I DID

It could never be the same after what I did.

Image courtesy of Alfonso Romero at FreeImages.net

More poignant than Christmas or any other time of year, Easter and the days leading up to it point to all Christianity stands for and depends upon. But this year, it was different for me. This time, it wasn’t the crucifixion that gripped my heart. It wasn’t the empty tomb that caught my breath. It wasn’t even the Last Supper or the Garden of Gethsemane. It was a quiet moment not even articulated in Scripture but one which had to have happened. It was the moment when Peter wondered if Jesus could really be alive, then felt flooded with the guilt of his denial. Hope and shame filled his heart simultaneously, and shame won as Peter must have said to himself, “It could never be the same after what I did.”

Regret and despair. I know what they feel like. They weigh heavily on the heart, the mind, the countenance. These feelings cloud each judgement and dim every hope. And in the lonely hours when misery comes crashing in, it makes one realize it could never be the same again. Not after that.

Just hours before the infamous denial, Peter had boldly announced that he would stay true to Jesus no matter what–even if it meant imprisonment, even if it meant death. So now, as if anguish isn’t a heavy enough burden, the weight of humiliation is added. Everyone knows of his hypocrisy.

Sure, Peter was the one who jumped out of the boat and walked on water toward Jesus, but he was also the one who sank. He was the one who grabbed his sword and cut off a soldier’s ear to defend Jesus, but he was also the one Jesus had to correct for that very action. He was the one who said, “Not me, Jesus. I will never leave your side.” And it was Peter who not only fled in fear but blatantly denied him three separate times. He was quick to proclaim allegience because he was passionate, but his follow-through wasn’t there, and he would never be able to come back from this last failure. It was just too big. It would never be the same… even if Jesus really was alive.

Have you ever made a mistake that left you feeling hopeless in your walk with the Lord? Do you identify with guilt or shame or embarrassment? They’re terrible companions, and they move into your life without asking permission. They create a gulf between you and Jesus and whisper in your ear that it will never be the same again… even if Jesus really did forgive you.

And they’re right. It won’t.

It will never be the same after what I did

Image courtesy of Jesse Therrien at FreeImages.net

I listened to the song “He’s Alive,” and the inspiration for this post came from the line where Peter says, “And even if He was alive, it just wouldn’t be the same.” Tears filled my eyes (that song gets me every time), but it was with a whole new perspective. I realized there was an unsung after-Easter miracle. There was a moment when Peter’s condemnation, guilt, and shame intersected with the One whom he had denied. At some point between the end of the Gospels and the beginning of Acts, Peter stopped recounting what he had done wrong and embraced the One who makes all things new. Peter accepted forgiveness and moved on.

Every choice and every experience, whether good or bad, changes us. We’re never the same. But in the hands of a Potter who molds us like clay, there should be no fear in that. If you read the first few chapters of Acts, you’ll find that even though there were 120 in the upper room where they were filled with the Holy Spirit, there is one who emerges as the primary leader. It’s Peter who picks up the mic and delivers a message that brings 3,000 to Jesus. It’s Peter God uses to take the hand of a lame beggar and heal him. And it’s Peter of whom the crowd says, “If we don’t get to speak to him, maybe at least his shadow will fall on us, and we’ll be healed.”

Peter. The one who said in desperation that it would never be the same. Thankfully, he was right. Peter’s real ministry didn’t even begin until after his denial and bitter tears.

After failure. After shame. After Easter.

After.

It’s okay that things will never be the same. Sometimes it’s after we mess up terribly and we’re on the brink of giving up, that Jesus finally helps us realize that our hope and His plan have nothing to do with how good we are anyway.

And you know what else? It’s okay if Easter morning didn’t bring the breakthrough for which you silently hoped this year… because Jesus is still there for you and just as powerful… after.

From the heart of Dixie Mama… always say grace.

Do you know anyone who might need to hear this? Share it to encourage others. And if you enjoyed this, you might also like to read one of my earlier posts, Even After I Did That.

2 comments

  1. Jen

    Thanks Dixie Mama – I will definitely share! :)

    1. Hayley Cranfield

      Thank YOU, Jen!

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