March 23, 2016: Counseling
Simon, Simon, listen! (v. 31)
Jesus’ warning to Peter that he would betray him is a commentary on a verse from Proverbs. There the wise man says, “Well meant are the wounds a friend inflicts, but profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6). How painful it must have been for Peter to have his beloved Lord level such a terrible accusation. How hopeful it must have been for Peter to live into Jesus’ promise to him of restoration.
I learn three things from the Lord Jesus that I need to bear in mind if I am ever called to speak to a friend in spiritual trouble. First, speak personally. Jesus calling out “Simon, Simon…” counteracts the evil one’s dehumanizing ways. Peter was a real person, headed for a real fall, but he still belonged to the Lord.
Second, speak truthfully. Speak the truth in love, but by all means speak the truth. “Satan has demanded to sift you like wheat…” Peter would be pitted against the Prince of Darkness and Jesus told him so.
Third, speak hopefully. A world of hope must have dawned in Peter’s hurting heart when Jesus said, “And when once you have turned…” Our failures, however terrible they are, are never final! Human failure is temporary; God’s grace is eternal.
Is there someone you need to speak to this way?
Prayer: Lord, help us speak the truth in love!
Today’s devotional was written by Tim Brown, president and Henry Bast professor of preaching at Western Theological Seminary. This Lenten series comes from Words of Hope, whose mission is to build the church in the hard places through media. To learn more about the organization or subscribe to Words of Hope’s daily devotions, visit www.woh.org.