|Photo By Renee Fisher|
A Good Place To Start!
Maybe you’re the one wrestling with choices from the past. You’re in deep sorrow. Maybe you’re bitter. No matter what the pain of the past, God offers His hand.
Before His crucifixion, Jesus warned Peter that he would one day deny Him. Peter was horrified at the idea. “No way!” he said. “I’ll never deny You.”…but then he did. He denied that he had ever known Jesus…three times.
Ouch. Never make a deal you can’t keep. Peter broke his word even after Jesus gave him a warning. How do you make sense of that?
Fortunately, the story’s not over. I love what happens later. After Jesus had risen from the dead He was eating and chilling with His disciples. He took Peter aside during breakfast and asked him a tough question. He said, “Do you love Me” (You can read the whole story in John 21:15-19).
Now, we unfortunately only have one word for love in the English language. In Greek there are three words. The first is eros, which means romance or sexual love. The second, phileo means a brotherly love. It suggests deep affection, like you have for your closest friends. Agape love is the strongest of all. It can’t be earned but can only be freely given. It’s a love that comes without expectations. This is the kind of love Christ showed for us when He died on the cross.
When Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, he was talking about agape--the granddaddy of all love. Peter says, “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you.” Sounds pretty good and nice…but they’re not talking about the same thing. Jesus is asking, “Do you agape me?”
and Peter responds, “I phileo you.” He’s basically saying, “I heart you, Friend.”
That’s not what Jesus wants. It’s only phileo love. Jesus asks Peter again, “Do you agape me?”
“I phileo you,” says Peter.
Jesus asks one more time, but this time he changes it up. “Peter do you phileo me?” He says. “Do you heart me, Friend?”
and Peter says, “Yes!”
I love how God knows how much we fail and screw up miserably, and yet He sees us in our pain and meets us where we are. He wants and tries for the best in each one of us. He knows us personally enough to know when we’re not giving our all, or when we’re not even capable of loving. What a fantastic day of questions for Peter and Jesus. I’m sure they both went away thinking, "Phew! That’s a good place to start!"
~ Adapted from “Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me.” © 2013 Harvest House Publishers. If you would like to know more about how to forgive others as well as yourself, please feel free to check out Renee Fisher’s new book on Amazon releasing August 1st.
Renee Fisher, the Devotional Diva®, is the spirited speaker and author of Faithbook of JesusNot Another Dating Book Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me, and Loves Me Not. A graduate of Biola University, Renee’s mission in life is to “spur others forward” (Hebrews 10:24) using the lessons learned from her own trials to encourage others in their walk with God. She and her husband, Marc, live in California with their dog, Rock Star. Learn more about Renee at www.devotionaldiva.com and her newest book at www.forgivingme.com.