Feisty Relations (Relations with Foes)

by Carolyn Hope

Once more he asked them, “Who are you looking for?” And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.” “I told you that I AM he,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go.” He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.” Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?” (John 18:7-11)

When confronted with danger, our natural response is to fight it or to run away. Jesus did neither. He stepped forward and submitted Himself as the Sacrifice for us all. He could have defeated his enemies right then and there; He didn’t. He could have lashed out in hatred or anger; He didn’t. He could have slipped away as He had done before with hostile crowds; He didn’t do that either. In bravery and compassion, Jesus remained the same person and Savior that He always was.

Peter’s response, on the other hand, was to pull out his sword and attack. In all four Gospel accounts of this scene, Jesus squelches the violent impulses of his disciples. A movement that did not start with violence and was not run by force would not end in violence or force. This is not to say that self-defense or fighting for a cause is evil; the point is simply that opposition did not change God’s plan or His heart.

When people or circumstances rise against you, do not let them change you. Whatever you do, however you respond, let it be from who you are, not from fear or pressure. Walk in your authority and the peace that has been given to you. Let your decisions be based on your character, not your emotions. Who you are is more powerful than any weapon. Whatever you do, be true to yourself, and fight for who God says you are.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Pains We Face: Regret

by Carolyn Hope

“And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, ‘Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about.’ And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:59-62)

For many years, the story of Peter’s denial has been a picture of regret to me. When I read other Scriptures, however, I notice that the term “regret” is typically used in a negative sense; that is to say, regret is something Christians should not be feeling. Paul makes a distinction between godly sorrow and regret in 2 Corinthians 7:10, when he says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” There are differences between regret and godly sorrow. Regret doesn’t offer hope; godly sorrow does. Regret does not lead to repentance; godly sorrow does. Regret says, “You’re stuck,” while godly sorrow says, “You’re better. You can move forward.”

When you wallow in regret, you are completely self-focused. “I shouldn’t have done that.” “I should have been better, kinder, more patient, etc.” You’re relying on yourself to be perfect. Jesus came so you could live free from regret. When you slip and fall, you’re supposed to get back up again. The way you rise from a fall is by letting Jesus pull you up. His strength is greater than your weakness. His love is deeper than your selfishness. His mercy is stronger than your failures.

All of my life, I have looked at this scene in Scripture incorrectly. I’ve pictured Jesus staring at Peter with a piercing gaze, full of sadness and disappointment. The message I’ve believed Jesus conveyed was, “Peter, how could you?” Now I see the truth: Jesus didn’t look at Peter to remind him that he messed up. He looked at Peter because He loved him. There was no anger in Jesus’ eyes. There was no disappointment. Instead, there were kindness, mercy, and love, calling Peter to come back to Him.

You don’t have to be afraid of peering into Jesus’ eyes. He loves you. You are free, flawless, and enough in His view. Your failures don’t have to separate you from Him. Even the greatest of wrongs can be made right in Jesus’ love. He longs for you to be close. Don’t get stuck in the mire of regret. Let go, move forward, and draw near to the One who has eyes full of love for you.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.