“Do you love me?”

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A QUESTION: Simple and pure

“Simon, son of John [Peter], do you love me?”

This question in John 21 is straightforward. Simple. Pure. But honestly, this question haunts me.

Jesus asks Peter this question three times. Without doubt taking Peter back to the last time he was around a charcoal fire, slowly but surely denying association with Jesus.

Three chances to answer the question. Coinciding with, and redeeming, his three betrayals from before.

I’m amazed at how Jesus does not use guilt. He doesn’t rehash those moments, dragging Peter through the mud. He doesn’t drive home how hurtful the denials were. He doesn’t assume future behavior based on past mistakes.

I often assume that God wants me to feel the guilt and weight of my shame before I understand forgiveness. To reap the consequences of my actions. In other words, the pain of regret should at least equal, and precede, the joy of reconciliation.

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