Tuesday July 14, 2020
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
We relate to one another as extended family. We are brothers and sisters. As such, there is a closeness and vulnerability that comes. Paul is talking to the church. As family, we often see when one another messes up. If we don’t, then we should. Perhaps we’re not living close enough to each other and sharing our lives if we never notice when a brother or sister stumbles. And in seeing where a brother or sister sins, grace demands that we don’t look the other way and pretend we didn’t see anything. Avoidance and denial have no place in the Body of Christ. It might be the last of all things you feel like you should do. Our feelings often mislead us. Jesus and Paul place a high priority on restoration not wanting any family member to fall away. The power of sin has been defeated by Christ on the cross so we are obligated to help one another live into that freedom. Love requires that we confront our brother or sister in gentleness and humility. In other words, we must have the same attitude as Christ. Otherwise, we will be tempted toward prideful abuse and falling into sin ourselves because sometimes the very thing we notice and call out in others is the very same thing we struggle with the most.
“As he [Jesus] went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets” (Mark 1:19). The Greek word Mark uses for mending the fishing nets is the same word Paul uses in this passage for restore. The goal of confronting a brother or sister is restoration. The fishing nets need to be mended or repaired so they don’t lose the fish they catch. In the same way, it is God’s desire not to have a single one of his children fall away. Restoration is the goal. It’s not ok to let problems persist. The wound can’t fester and remain exposed or the infection will grow. It’s not ok to let it be. Sin doesn’t work itself out on its own. It only corrupts further if left unattended. In our restoring one another, we do so in the same way James and John mend their nets: gently. The nets are fine. They get tangled up easily. If you’ve ever had to untangle a very fine and slim metal necklace, you know what I mean. The more force you use, the more you pull, the more aggressive you are in trying to untangle the necklace, not only have you not fixed anything, but you’ve actually made the problem worse. The same with mending the fishing nets. The same is true in how we are called to restore our brothers and sisters. Gently and with humility. It takes patience, careful attention, and devoted time.
Is there anyone God might be calling you to help restore into the Body of Christ?
Do you remember times when you handled a disagreement or dispute poorly?
In light of these passages from scripture, how will you handle those situations going forward?
Prayer for Today
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
(Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi)
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