I have been thinking a lot about how Jesus saw and heard Peter at his worst. Having pledged his undying loyalty to Jesus previously, Peter at the first sign of danger denied any connection with Jesus. As soon as the words of denial were out of Peter’s big mouth Luke tells us.

And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Luke 22:61

Jesus heard and saw the whole thing. The one who had promised to be with him whatever happened, turning his back on him and denying he even knew Him. Jesus saw Peter at his worst, a bravado-filled hypocrite who bailed out on his friends at the first sign of trouble.

Yet in John 21, Jesus reinstates Peter and appoints him to a key role among his disciples. Peter betrays Jesus, Jesus believes in Peter and believes he can be trusted to play a vital role in His mission.

Why did Jesus choose to reinstate this man who had under pressure shown himself to treacherous and unreliable, as well as a liar?

I am sure there are many reasons, but one of them surely must be that Jesus loved Peter and believed the best of him, despite knowing the worst.

Am I the only one who feels convicted that I all too often do the opposite of Jesus and choose to allow the worst I have seen in people to define my attitudes and actions toward them?

Someone lets me down, someone does me wrong and thereafter I always see them through the lens of that one event where I saw them at their worst. Jesus in contrast defines people by their potential to be better rather than their words and actions when they were at their worst.

Thinking about this I came across a devotional by Phil Ware and I want to share with you something he said

“Unlike Jesus, we let the worst day, the worst moment, the worst action of a friend, become the defining one in our relationship. We see their worst and we forever plaster it to them. That’s how we choose to permanently view them. We don’t practice forgiveness. We don’t remember the good. We don’t see the best. We label them with their worst.

We can do better. We must do better because of the Spirit of Christ in us. We must do better because people matter eternally. We must do better because everyone we call a friend, a lover, a spouse, a confidant, or a mentor, is just as fallible and breakable, as we are. Each of them is as vulnerable to stumbling and letting down someone they love, as we have been.

Yes, each of their stumbles could crush us, mar our friendship, and leave us wounded. But, should we forever define them by their stumble or by the years of faithfulness or their future years of goodness?

What if Jesus treated us based on our worst moments and not when we are our best selves?

Thank God, Jesus doesn’t. He doesn’t see our horrible missteps as a final failure, but as a stumble from which we can turn, come back, and be able to strengthen others.”

 Inspired by Jesus and probably with a lot of help from the Spirit, I am going to stop judging people by their worst and start defining them by when I saw them at their best.

What about you?

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