Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Love is Restorative

This blog has probably been in the process of being written for well over a month so pardon the scattered brain.  I am tying in thoughts from this crazy mind of mine from different days and trying to make a continual string out of it.  There's a song that first got me thinking about this subject a while back called "You Are More" by Tenth Avenue North.  I am just going to transcribe the first verse right now.

"There's a girl in the corner with tear stains on her eyes from the places she's wandered and the shame she can't hide.  She says, "How did I get here? I'm not who I once was and I'm crippled by the fear that I've fallen too far to love."

You ever feel like that? I know I have.  "I've fallen too far to love." It reverberates in your head like a gong.  For some reason in our little 3D reality, we can't get past the concept of cause and effect.  "Oh man I did all this work today helping build a house for a homeless family, God's going to love me so much now!" or, "I couldn't control my anger and kicked that guy in the shins on the playground, God's going to hate me for at least 3 weeks now."  The fact that His love is unconditional continues to warp our puny little minds.  We can't grasp the concept of a 4D+ reality outside of our little cube.  We can't grasp that God can see the entire picture.  He was 'there' even before the time our brains can possibly conceive when the word "there" actually means, and He already sees the victory that was inevitable before that time.  He was there when Jesus was pinned to a cross for everyone to take on our sins and thus was separated from Himself until we were redeemed.  And He did that even while we were yet sinning.  But somehow, we still conceive that one little mistake marks us off his love list.  I don't even want to conceive what a list of wrongs as long as Santa's present list would do. 

"But don't you know who you are, what's been done for you? ... You are more than the choices that you've made, You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, You are more than the problems you create, You've been remade. 'Cause this is not about what you've done, but what's been done for you.  This is not about where you've been, but where your brokenness brings you to.  This is not about what you feel, but what He felt to forgive you and what He felt to make you loved."

I look at Peter the night before Christ was sent to die.  The disciples in whole made a lot of stupid mistakes.  They argued over the selfish title of who was the best, they continually didn't have faith that this man they were wholeheartedly following would provide and protect, and like we see in Peter's life story, they abandoned him as He died.  Peter was a pretty impulsive guy.  We first see him walking on water toward Jesus like a boss. . . and then shortly after beginning to drown as he takes His eyes off Him and focuses on the waves.  Then we see Peter professing who Jesus really is, and  then Jesus pronouncing that Peter is the rock that He will build His church on. . . and only 4 verses later telling Peter "Get behind me Satan!" We see Peter falling asleep on the job and then lobbing a guard's ear off, we see him saying firmly that He will stand with Jesus and not deny Him, only to deny Him three times in the most important night in history.  After that rooster crowed and reminded Him of what Jesus prophetically told him he would do, he must have had the worst three days imaginable.  The man he just gave up his entire life for to follow for three years just died and within hours of Jesus being taken away, he had already denied him three times.  

But love is restorative.  

For three days later word came to the disciples that Jesus was no longer in the tomb, and John, the disciple of love, and Peter, the disciple of impulse, ran full sprint to see it for themselves.  We see John and Peter a lot from this point on teaming up.  Assuredly, John knew Peter's story of denial, and yet from this point on not only will they run together to see the tomb empty but they will consistently travel together in the book of Acts performing miracles and starting the church on the foundation of Peter's earlier confession.  I love the restorative love that John had! But even greater we see on the last meeting after Jesus reveals himself alive again but just before He ascends into heaven, there is a story where Jesus specifically meets with Peter.  After Jesus miraculously gives a multitude of fishes to Peter's fishing nets, He pulls him aside and asks Peter if he loves Him. . . . three times! The first two times Jesus uses the unconditional Agapao and Peter responds with the brotherly Phileo.  But on the third time Jesus meets him and uses the word Phileo and I believe in that moment Peter realized that He would never be able to love the Lord with the unconditional love that Jesus loved Him with.  He knew he screwed up in the past and that He would screw up in the future.  But Jesus restores him with that realization and tells him to feed His sheep, and boy does Peter do that for on the day the Holy Spirit filled the disciples in Acts, 3000 were saved through Peter's short "sermon". 

We are all going to mess up.  Our friends are all going to mess up. The more we realize that, the more we can come to realize how much Jesus paid on the cross, and the more we can begin to restore one another in that foundational truth.  So take heart, for you will never fall too far to love!

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