I am somewhat hard-headed and tend to learn life lessons in the “School of Hard Knocks.” I’ve found that the most effective teacher in life is consequence. Or as my Mom used to say “Bought lessons stay with you longer than taught lessons,” and I have paid dearly for some lessons. I learned to choose more carefully who I hung around when I sat through a police interrogation on prom night. I learned the value of money when I found myself deep in debt. I learned to pay attention to my driving when I ran a red light and t-boned a car. But the most important life lesson I learned wasn’t from my own failure – it came from the life of Peter.
In the Lord’s most vulnerable moments, Peter denied knowing Jesus. As his Friend stood trial before the High Priest, his boldest disciple was arguing about his association with the one he had previously declared as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:13). Peter repeatedly rebuffed accusations that he was one of Jesus’ followers. And when, as his Friend prophesied, the rooster crowed, Peter realized what he has done and “he went outside and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62). He was brokenhearted over his betrayal.
Peter’s life shows us that the mistakes we make, our failures and missteps are not the end. God doesn’t write us off, wash His hands of us or give up on us because we are hard-headed. If that were so, mankind would have never made it past Adam and Eve, much less to you and me. All through the Bible God tells us that He is patient, forgiving, compassionate, merciful and full of grace. He loves you, even when your knees are bloody because you fell. He loves me, even when I am covered in the stench of my own choices. Jesus died so you and I can be forgiven; So that we could have a second chance at life. Or a third or a seventeenth.