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Thought for the weekend: Forgiveness for our failings

By Rev Gareth Burke, Stranmillis Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Belfast

Someone recently lent me a copy of Brian O'Driscoll's autobiography. I confess that I haven't got into it yet, but it does look like a good read.

Biographies, if well written, are always a good read. But what constitutes a well-written biography? I think the most striking feature of a well-written biography is honesty.

The life of the person needs to be displayed 'warts and all'. This is particularly true when it comes to the presentation of the lives of men and women from Church history.

Christian biographies can be very helpful if they are honest and open. Sometimes this is not the case.

The life of the person concerned is set before us and the impression is given that the man or woman of faith had no problems. They trusted in Jesus for salvation and from that moment on all was well. No problems. No trials.

That is not what we find in the Bible. The Holy Spirit, who is the author of scripture, faithfully sets before us the lives of many men and women of faith - their moments of blessing and their times of failure.

Take Peter - Simon Peter. He was a man of faith. He was undoubtedly trusting in Jesus for salvation and he knew moments of great blessing in his Christian life.

He accompanied Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. He rightly declared "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God" in response to Christ's great question: "Who do men say that I am?"

Yet, when Jesus was on trial in the courtyard of the High Priest's house on three separate occasions he declared to those around him that he didn't even know Jesus.

He denied his saviour and let him down at the very moment when he needed his support and help.

So often we are like him. We have a living faith in Jesus. He is our saviour. But too often we let him down. We fall into sin. We fail Jesus. However, take heart! For Peter was broken by his sin and Jesus wonderfully forgave him for his failure.

Jesus not only forgave him but he used Peter as the great preacher on the day of Pentecost when so many were converted to Christ.

That's what Jesus does. He forgives, he restores and he uses us again in his service. What an amazing Saviour!

Belfast Telegraph


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