"Roni, do you love Me?"
Let’s be honest. I’ve had a tough year. I’m not looking for sympathy and I’m not making excuses. Those who are close to me understand that I’ve been operating under an enormous amount of stress. I look back at the past 12 months and sigh deeply. Between my son’s motorcycle accident, my mom’s heart surgery, and my sister’s battle with cancer, it’s been a lot to handle. However, I am not inviting you to my pity party.
I see God’s footprints in so many ways throughout my darkest days. The farther I travel away from the darkness, I realize my spirit was under a heavy burden. I realize the Light is always at the end of the tunnel and guides me safely home.
I’ve experienced guilt for things I’ve said, things I’ve posted, and ways that I reacted to things that do not concern me at all. I believe stress caused me to be hypervigilant, which brought on a tendency to overfunction. I believe I tried to fix trivial things – dumb things – because I felt so out of control in more serious issues. Again, that’s not an excuse; it is a reason.
I attended a bible study several years ago taught by Dr. Robert McGee, author of The Search for Significance. Dr. McGee brought up the issue of sin in the Christian life. He taught that not only does Satan tempt us but when we fall into temptation Satan torments us by saying, “I can’t believe you did that/said that! And, you pretend to be so good!”
God may convict us; He does not torment us. Christ offers forgiveness of sins. All we must do is ask. We need to accept His forgiveness but, more importantly, we must learn to forgive ourselves. Do we really think we have a right to hold on to our mistakes when Christ is willing to let go of them? The better question is: Are we willing to forgive those who have trespassed against us? If God can (and does), what excuse do we have to harbor unforgiveness towards anyone?
As I’ve prayed and meditated over the course of a few weeks, I am brought back to Peter’s denial of Christ. Peter could not believe he would ever deny Christ despite Christ’s prediction. Yet, Peter ended up doing the exact thing Jesus said he would do! Peter was so ashamed. Afterwards Jesus ask Peter three times, “Peter, do you love Me?” Peter replied three times, “Yes, Lord,” growing a little more irritated each time Jesus asked. Christ asked the same question three times symbolizing total forgiveness for the three times Peter denied Christ.
This morning, as I prepared for my day, I felt God asking me, “Roni, do you love Me?” I replied, “Yes, Lord, I love You.” He responded as He did with Peter, “Feed My sheep.”
Whenever any of God’s children find themselves in a period of remorse or regret, let’s remember that God asks us the same question, “Do you love Me?” If your answer is “yes,” He responds, “Then feed My sheep.”