Forgiving had always been the hardest thing for me to do, hands down. I have accomplished and conquered many things in my life, and I have overcome some obstacles. But I had struggled with forgiveness for years. I choose to use the word had and speak about it in the past tense because I do not want to claim it through affirmation. But I still have days where I deal with, so that it won't deal with me. But, I have found strength in the word of God.
31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
Although Peter pledged his allegiance, to Jesus, and said that he would not deny him even if it costs him his life. Jesus knew that Peter would deny him 3 times.
Knowing this, he still allowed Peter to be in his inner circle.
15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. 16 But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. 17 Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?”
He said, “I am not.”
25 Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not!” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” 27 Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.
So Jesus' prophesy was fulfilled, and Peter denied him 3 times. But why did he allow Peter to follow him?
John 20: 1-2
20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
Although Peter denied him, according to the scripture, he allowed him to be one of the first of his disciples to bear witness to his resurrection. If that isn't rforgiveness, what is?
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
Notice the significance of 3 in the text. Simon Peter denied Jesus 3 times, and Jesus made him confess his love for him 3 times. The scripture said that Peter was grieved because Jesus asked him a third time because he understood the connotation.
Jesus told Peter to not only follow him, but to "tend to his sheep", and to "feed his lambs". Meaning, preach and teach the word to all of those who followed him. He chose Peter to tend his sheep as opposed to the disciple that he loved because he saw past Peter's flaws, and saw his heart. Peter was both forgiven and restored.
Has anyone ever denied you 3 times to save themselves before you were crucified? No! So if Jesus Christ can forgive Peter for denying him, who are we to hold a grudge for our nonsense. Surely nothing in our lives can compare to Jesus' betrayal. If he forgave so can we.
A wise person once said, forgiveness is for us, not for the other person. It is impossible to go forward living in the past.