The Incredible Lightness of Restoration

Last week, I wrote about how Jesus restores us when (not if) we screw up. Peter was the biblical example I used, referring to Jesus’ beautiful restoration of one of His best friends, since He knew Peter would have been beating himself up over betraying Jesus.

Today, I wanted to take a peek at what happens as a result of being restored.

Fast-forwarding a little bit in time, and jumping from the Gospels to the Book of Acts (which is really the second volume of Luke’s Gospel), we see a new Peter. He had been so afraid (after promising to be brave) that he swore he didn’t know Jesus. But in the second chapter of Acts, we see the birth of the church, thanks in large part to Peter’s bold proclamation that Jesus was and is the Messiah (and I’m sure God had something to do with creating the church, too).

Then a few days later, Peter has an opportunity to recall how he felt after Jesus had restored him following his darkest days. He must have remembered this with tremendous fondness when he said this:

Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.

Acts 3:17-20 (NIV, emphasis added)

He’s telling anyone who will listen–including us–that God does not leave us to wallow in the filth of the bad things we have done and said and thought. As he remembers his friend and Savior extending a hand of grace to pull him out of his pit of self-pity, he says that we have the same opportunity. All we have to do is repent and grab hold of Jesus’ extended hand–or probably even just the hem of his robe–and He will restore us.

He picks us up–He picked me up. He dusts us off. He renews our relationship with Him. He tells us to go forth and sin no more, knowing that we probably won’t live up to that for even a day. Maybe not even an hour. But He is so patient with us that He doesn’t mind how quickly we end up back there, reaching again for His hand of grace.

But do you think He does this just so we will feel better about ourselves?

I don’t think so. His primary motivation seems to be so that we can spend eternity with Him in paradise–the result of our acceptance of His grace and mercy and forgiveness.

But that’s not all.

Returning to Peter’s story, we see that he is telling others about his story, his walk with Jesus. He is making the world a better place by building a body of believers who are sharing literally everything they have with each other and anyone in need. He makes a lame man’s day (probably his life) by healing him.

Obviously, God gave us all different gifts, so He does not expect that we all will respond in exactly the same way as Peter to His gift of restoration. Maybe your response could be something as simple as speaking kind words to everyone you encounter–even someone who was rude to you. Or it could be a random act of kindness, like paying someone else’s tab at a restaurant. Maybe you could really go crazy and write a positive blog, or post an affirming message on social media.

This is our chance to shine God’s Light into the darkness all around. Let’s each of us decide how we can reflect the incredible lightness of having been restored by the Savior of the world. And then do it.

About Writing & Photography by David K. Carpenter

Photographer of Light and Life, Writer of Life as it finds me
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