Broken For Good
Nov 17, 2019 | Chris Ward
There are few words in the english language more disheartening than the word “disqualified.” Think of an athlete training for the Olympics, having worked daily for four years to be able to compete, only to not be able to participate because he was “disqualified” for some technicality. Wrapped up in the word “disqualified” is the idea that someone, at some point, was qualified–but then because of mistakes that they made, they no longer have the credentials to do what they once did.
It’s hard not to feel that way sometimes in the Christian life. We talk so often in the Christian life of seeking to honor God, do what God wants us to do, live to the standard that God wants for us. But we also know the daily struggle involved in that–and how often we fall short. And it’s hard to feel like we can ever be used by God because of our sin. A story is told of a man who played a trick on a group of elders at a church. He anonymously sent each of them a letter, and each one said exactly the same thing: “I know what you did. And if you don’t resign down by tomorrow, then I will let the whole church know what you did.” All of the elders called the lead pastor and resigned that very next day.
But one of the amazing things about the Christian faith is that though we all have done things to be “disqualified”–though we are all broken–our God is a God who not only forgives us, but he restores us.
That’s what Peter found out. The denial of Jesus by Peter is one of the most famous stories of all time. Indeed, it is one of the few stories that is told in all four gospels–meaning that it was well known in the church circles. And it’s also one of the most embarrassing stories that can be told: Peter, in many ways the leader of the disciples, at one point said he would die before he would ever deny Jesus. And yet Peter denied him three times within the span of a few hours! If Jesus had been the CEO of a company, and Peter a vice-president, Peter’s lack of allegiance to his boss would have no doubt got him fired several times over.
But Jesus doesn’t treat Peter that way. Instead, in a remarkable scene in John 21, we see how Jesus fully restores Peter. Indeed, three times, Jesus gives Peter the charge to “feed my sheep”–one charge for each of the three times that Peter denied him. This is a full restoration, a restoration that Peter takes to heart by becoming one of the main figures in the early church.
One of the main lessons of Peter’s restoration is that there is that “disqualified” is basically not a word in God’s lexicon. We are all broken sinners, as we learned last week. If God could only use perfect people, then the church would die. God can only use broken people, and so he uses you and me. And so we should never let our past ever disqualify us from what God may want to do with us. Indeed, it is sometimes our biggest mistakes that God uses the most for His glory.
What are you allowing in your past to hold you back from what God wants to do in your present? If you think you are disqualified from God’s service for something that you have done, think again: a man who denied he ever knew Jesus was used by Him. There is nothing that we have done that ever disqualifies us from being used by God. Broken people are God’s speciality!