Q. I’ve had a serious moral failure and feel so bad that, though I’ve repented and the Elders and the Church have forgiven me, I can’t even get back to fellowship. What can I do?
A. Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times and even said that a rooster would crow to highlight his failure. Peter was offended that Jesus could even think such a thing of him, yet, lo and behold, it happened precisely as Jesus said it would.
Then, in John 21, after His resurrection Jesus seems to reinstate Peter, asking him three times if he loved Him. Three times Peter replies, “Yes!” and, without hesitation, Jesus says, “Feed My sheep.”
For years afterwards Peter must have cringed every time he heard a rooster crow! What would he have thought of? His denial, of course! He may even have wished to kill every rooster on earth. Roosters never go silent!
However, the words Peter would write and the life he would live, seem to suggest that he would more so have reflected on Jesus’ restoring words in John 21, “Feed My sheep!” He could no longer wallow in his guilt when his Lord had commissioned him to feed the sheep. He lived the passionate life of a man restored!
Get back into fellowship immediately. Let the Elders help and guide you through your initial embarrassment. Walk humbly, but hold your head high; you have been forgiven and you have been restored.
When your personal rooster crows, remember your restoration rather than dwell on your forgiven failure! Instead, feed His sheep!