There was a man trying to cross the street. As he steps off the curb a car comes screaming around the corner, heading straight for him. The man walks faster, trying to hurry, but the car changes lanes and is still coming at him. So he turns around to go back, but the car changes lanes yet again and is still coming straight toward him. By now, the car is so close and the man is so scared that he just freezes and stops in the middle of the road. The car swerves at the last possible moment and screeches to a halt right next him. The driver rolls down the window. The driver is … a squirrel and he says to the man, ...."See, it’s not as easy as it looks!"
It is not as easy as it looks when you are trying to forgive yourself. Case in point: Peter. You probably know the story; in the span of maybe an hour or two, Peter had denied knowing Jesus three times. To make matters worse, Jesus told him in advance that this was going to happen, but Peter, with squared shoulders and puffed chest, declared, never! I wonder how many times Peter replayed this sequence of events in his mind. I wonder if he felt disqualified for God’s plan for his life. And here in John 21, Peter says, “I’m going fishing.” In other words, “I’ve had it. I’m going back to the old way. I have failed my Lord and I cannot forgive myself.”
I like what Jesus does here, he comes to Peter on the shore line and he cooks Peter a meal. Jesus uses charcoal to cook the fish. The only other time the Bible mentions a charcoal fire is when Peter warmed himself on the cold night he denied Christ. And in just a matter of minutes, Jesus invites Peter to once again, “Follow me.”
People who can’t forgive themselves often struggle with guilt. They believe they deserve to suffer for what they’ve done. If that’s you, it’s time to push the stop button on your guilt by giving it to Jesus and letting Him restore you. Let’s His grace wash over you like a river. His forgiveness completely purifies and restores. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Jesus promises, “My grace is sufficient for you.”