It’s Okay to Mess Up
April 18, 2020 by Joey Tuttle
Within the craziness and fear of COVID-19, life still goes on. As such, I still have been doing assignments for my classes, including my speech class. I had decided to write a speech on the disciple Peter. Because it was an informational speech, there wasn’t any ‘lesson’ I could give, just an analysis of his life. Through this analysis, I learned interesting facts as well as a lesson that I found myself drawn to through Peter’s life. Although I couldn’t share this lesson in my speech, I’d love to share it with you all.
Throughout my learning, I have always been taught two key things about Peter: How he denied Jesus three times on the eve of the darkest day, and how he later repented and was forgiven by Jesus. This in and of itself is a beautiful redemptive story showcasing Jesus’ amazing love. However, there’s so much more to Peter’s story. Right from the get-go, Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31).
Throughout the Gospels, Peter asks Jesus questions, witnesses miracles, listens to parables, and (briefly) walks on water with Jesus. Peter even gets sent out with other disciples to heal people and spread the good news. Somehow, after all this preparation, after all these powerful miracles and incredible statements of wisdom, Peter still denied Jesus. I’ve often wondered why? Why would he do this after all that training and wisdom?
It’s easy to ask that when you’re not in his shoes. When you’re not in a situation where you could be punished just for knowing Jesus.
Why did Peter deny Jesus? Well, we could talk about how he always seems a bit impulsive in his decisions. We could look for a build-up of faithlessness, but he seemed to have a whole lot of faith, as he dropped everything he knew to go with Jesus.
I think it boils down to this: Peter was a broken human being.
Broken human beings tend to mess up once in a while.
I mean, if I’d have a penny for every perfect human being who ever lived, I would be 1 cent richer.
Everyone is broken, everyone messes up, and every Christian can still take comfort even in the midst of the mess-ups.
Because Jesus saves.
Because Jesus forgives.
Because Jesus loves.
Peter ended up understanding this. You see, when you mess up, it’s not the end. God forgives; we can see this in John 21:15-19. 15 “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Peter learned from his mistakes, and Jesus taught him something that I don’t think he fully understood until being intimately and seriously forgiven by Him.
Peter understood though, boy did he understand! Acts 4 shows us the same Peter, impulsive and talkative, but ON FIRE FOR GOD. After a low point in his life, filled with the Holy Spirit, he boldly proclaims,
“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. “(Acts 4:11-12)
Peter is a prime example of God’s glorious gift of salvation in action. I hope that even in the midst of COVID-19 and the craziness that ensues, you can find ways to spread the Good News. Whether that be simply a call to a friend or an in-depth conversation with someone who’s wondering or wandering in their spiritual life. Please have that boldness and faith that Peter had.
And remember, it’s okay to mess up, we’re all human beings, but we hold hope in Jesus and the gift of salvation.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for sending your son to die on the cross for our sins. Please forgive us our sins, help us to try to serve you, and not our flesh, and help us to forgive those who sin against us. Please help us have patience with one another as ‘cabin fever’ may kick in, and please keep those on the front lines safe. Thank you for the little things. Snow, sun, a nice cup of coffee, a conversation that wouldn’t happen in normal circumstances. Thank you.
Thank you for the salvation you offer. We cannot imagine the pain and suffering you endured for us. Please help us to always keep that in mind.
Dear Holy Spirit,
Please come upon us and help us to discern your will, oh God. Help us to look for others who need help, and find safe ways to help. We pray for discernment in these trying times.
In Jesus’ Name,