When I first read Katharine’s book it was the chapter that had me crying “I do that too!!” So I wanted to explore a little deeper the idea of replaying conversations again and again, squirming with shame at what has been said.
Shame leaves us stuck in replaying and regretting what has gone before, preventing us from moving forward and dealing with what has passed.
Brene Brown writes that:
“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
I’d go a step further, because I believe that shame corrodes our belief that God can restore and redeem us.
Shame tells us that we are worthless and unredeemable; it can make us think that the very worst parts of ourselves overshadow anything good about us.
Shame fails to live up to the standards of the law – but the gospels show a new way of looking at ourselves and our sin.
It doesn’t minimise or deny our sin, but reminds us that despite our sin we are still worth dying for!
I can’t help but think of Simon Peter here; his denial of Jesus was shameful; but Jesus neither denies his sin nor shames his sin – he confronts it and forgives it.
In John 21:15 we read that Jesus refers to him as Simon; and yet when he was called from his life as a fisherman, he’d been given a new name. No longer Simon – he was Peter, the Rock. Surely Jesus was reminding him here that his faith hadn’t been so rock-like recently.
But the conversation doesn’t end with Peter stripped of his new identity; Jesus redeems each of Peter’s denials by repeatedly asking, “Simon, Son of John, do you love me.”
Jesus restores Peter’s denials, and through that He’s showing Peter that he is forgiven.
Shame keeps us stuck in our sin – forgiveness and redemption move us on – and they moved Peter on.
The latter part of Jesus’s conversation with Peter is a re-commissioning. Jesus gives him a new role as a Pastor, the imagery shifting from fisherman to shepherd, giving a fairly succinct job description!
Feed my lambs.
Take care of my sheep.
Feed my sheep.
This is the calling for Peter’s next stage of ministry – to take up the role of a shepherd, a pastor – in spite and perhaps in part because of all he had done. I personally don’t know if I would have trusted the “top job” to someone who failed me so badly.
It’s a beautiful reminder that where shame sees only sin – Jesus sees through our sin straight to our identity as sons and daughters of God – redeemed and restored by Him.
Replay and Regret is a thing of the past because in Jesus we find our Redemption.