In this season, I have been reminded of how very good I am at extending grace to others but how hard it is for me to extend grace to myself.

But then I come back to the story of Peter. The story of how Jesus’ main man betrayed Him three times. THREE TIMES?! How that didn’t make Him love Peter any less. In this story we see Peter, a messy, broken man, screw up BIG TIME out of fear and human weakness. He knew Jesus tangibly and He denied Him.

As a disciple, He walked closely with our Lord. He came to know the love, service and grace of Christ poured out on him, the other disciples and everyone that He touched.

Jesus wasn’t surprised by this and we shouldn’t be either.

“Be on the alert, because your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

The part of this story that I may tend to focus on? And if you’re like me, you may as well. Peter knew Jesus, knew how good He was and He still messed up in such a big way. 

I mean, there’s no coming back from that. You can’t deny Jesus and still have a place at the table…

But that isn’t the story is it? 

Peter didn’t tell a little white lie. He didn’t just struggle with lust or greed. He didn’t deny Jesus one time and then get his act together the other two times. He watched Jesus suffering and denied even knowing him THREE TIMES.

And then? What did Peter get?

God used Peter to teach the other disciples and used him as a pillar of the early church.

Because this whole following Jesus thing? This is not based on how good we can be. On what we do. It is based on how good He is and what He can do through the most messy and broken among us. 

And that is why following Christ still captures my heart. Despite my fears, my doubts and my wrestling, this is why I am still drawn to the Gospel message.

I find myself relating to Peter in a big way. I find myself denying Christ, messing up BIG TIME and asking God, how can you still use me? How can you still love me? How can you still have grace for me?

And then He reminds me that I am focusing on the wrong part of Peter’s story again.

I hear a whisper, “Kelsey, you can choose to be a Peter or a Judas”.

Judas and Peter both denied Christ.

Peter chose to trust in God’s mercy and Judas was overcome with despair.

How easy is it to be overcome with despair? How easy is it to be a Judas? To not trust that God can really use us in our mess and in our brokenness? Even after we screw up and deny him?

And that will keep us in darkness, that will keep us from really living in light and living the life God has for us.

Today I am choosing to be more like Peter and less like Judas.

I will focus on the part of the story where God uses Peter’s mess constructively to teach the other disciples and to help him build up the early church. I will acknowledge God’s ability to use me, but only so long as I choose to live in His mercy and not in my own, self imposed shame and despair.