Healing Fractured Relationships

        Ever been hurt by someone you thought you could trust?? Have you ever been stabbed in the back? Ever been kicked when you were down?Ever invested so much into someone only to see them sell you out when you needed them the most?
    The story of Peter is a story of a close relationship that was devastated and then restored. Think about Peter for a few minutes. Peter was a man of great faith. Peter dropped his nets and his fishing business and left it all behind in order to follow Jesus and make fishers of men (Matthew 4:18). It was Peter alone that joined Jesus out on the open water while the other disciples remained in the boat (Matthew 14:28). And it was Peter alone that declared Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16).
     Peter was also a man of great love and loyalty. It was Peter that pulled Jesus aside and informed Him that He needed to stop already with the talk of his death ( Matthew 16:22). It is Peter that initially refused to allow Christ to wash his feet (John 13:8). It was Peter that declared that even if every person fell away from Him that he would remain faithful (Matthew 26:31-35). And it was Peter that cut off the ear of the servant that came to arrest Jesus (John 18:10).
     All of this was out of the great love and loyalty and respect that Peter had for Jesus. Peter had such high respect for Jesus that he could never ever imagine that the Son of God would be arrested, beaten, spit on, mocked, and executed. For Peter, that was just unimaginable.
     And then his friend is arrested. And Peter is confused and scared, and in a moment he blew it. He stabbed Jesus in the back. He kicked Jesus when He was down.  I think of all the things that hurt Jesus; His best friend selling him out was at the top of the list. He knew it was coming but it still hurt badly. Jesus must have thought – I’ve invested so much in this person and they turn their back on me when I need them more than ever. Luke 22:61 captures the heartache – “The Lord turned and looked at Peter, and Peter remembered the word of the Lord.” 
      And the Bible says, Peter wept bitterly. He sobbed uncontrollably. His is a picture of regret, pain, loss, guilt, and shame. I’m not sure there is anything in this life quite as painful as a fractured relationship.
     So now our story changes from examining Peter to examining Jesus. Because…. There is only one main character in the Passion and that is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, Jesus The Christ! What did Jesus do in order to repair this fractured relationship with perhaps his best friend in the whole world?
1. Jesus made the first move (Mark 16:7) 
     Mark 16:7 to me is one of the most powerful verses in the entire Bible. The angel of the Lord tells the ladies at the tomb – The Lord has a message. I want you to go and let the disciples know, and let Peter know too. I called him out by name. I love him and have plans for him and am not finished with him. You let Peter know that I’m looking for him! 
2. Jesus took intentional steps toward complete restoration (John 21)
     John 21 records the time that Jesus went to Peter and the disciples, and brought up a good memory (miraculous catch). It was something they had shared together that meant a lot to both of them. And then, He completely forgave him and completely restored their relationship. Peter had denied Christ 3 times. Jesus restored Peter 3 times. It was a complete restoration.  And then Jesus said, let’s get back to work. It’s over. Let’s move forward.
     And that same guy is the Peter that went on to be the leader of the New Testament church. The first time he preached 3000 people got saved. And tradition has it that Peter was martyred in Rome by Nero in A.D. 67, that he was crucified upside down, feeling he was unworthy to die as his Savior had. Our Jesus can take someone that has hurt someone very deeply and use them very greatly! 
     For someone reading this, Jesus wants to let you know He is making the first move on your behalf. He loves you! He has a plan for you! He’s not finished with you! And this article is to let you know that Jesus is looking for you. Run to Him today. I believe that the reason Peter ran to the empty tomb was not in order to verify the power of Jesus through the Resurrection. Not Peter. Peter never had trouble believing Jesus was the Christ. He saw it when no one else did. Peter ran to the empty tomb that morning to let his best friend in the whole world know how sorry He was for letting Him down. You can do the same and run to Him today.
     For someone else, Jesus is calling you to make the first move in a fractured relationship. Would you be willing to bury your pride and make that difficult first move toward reconciliation and restoration. Maybe you need to bring up a shared memory that meant something to both of you, and then forgive completely and for good. 

     Nadine Collier became famous in June of 2015 for three words she said to Dylan Roof, the young white man who a few days earlier had gunned down her mother and eight other African-Americans during a Wed. Bible study at their Charleston church: “I forgive you.” With those words about the June 17, 2015 killings, Collier set off a global debate about forgiveness. Over a year later, her grief is heavy. Collier misses the sound of her mother’s voice, the smile on her face she greeted worshipers as an usher at Emanuel AME Church, the spring in her step when she led the procession for Communion. Collier said that she learned in the bond hearing that forgiveness isn’t weak. It’s not resignation or a duty done begrudgingly. And it is not easy. Here is her full address to Roof:

     “I forgive you,” Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance, said at the hearing, her voice breaking with emotion. “You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”… You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people. If God forgives you, I forgive you.”
    God used this Word in my life. I pray that God will use this Word to restore a relationship in your life that is fractured!