Even Peter, the rock on whom Jesus would build His church failed the Lord. He denied Him three times, He cut of the ear of a servant “protecting Jesus”, among many other failings. But the Lord knew Peter was remorseful and repentant. So what did the Lord do with Peter? He fed Him and the other disciples and talked with them (John 21:9-14).
The Lord knows not only what our physical needs are, He knows that we need to be fed spiritually. “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) We need to be spiritually fed not just when things are going well with us, but especially after we have failed. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” (Rom. 15:4)
As a flawed human, too often I have chosen to flee (at least in my head or heart) when I have done wrong. We are told in Proverbs 28:1, “The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” Choosing to “run away” after we have done wrong is human nature, which is of this world. But the Lord has shown us a better way. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1)
The Holy Spirit will convict us of our sin, and urge us to repent. “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 2:1) And when we have repented the Lord no longer holds our sin against us (Ps 103:12). If you have repented of sin and it continues to play over and over again in your head and you feel shame about it, rest assured that is NOT coming from the Lord. The Holy Spirit will convict you of sin; the Lord never shames us. In fact, after Jesus physically and spiritually fed His disciples, He talked with Peter about getting back to the work the Lord had for him (John 21:15-17).
The Lord knows me better than I know myself. He knows I won’t always do the right thing, say the right thing, and I won’t always be faithful and disciplined. When I get off course, He will send the Holy Spirit to convict me and show me how I need to change, and of what I need to repent. Then He will forget the transgression and tell me to get back to doing the work He has called me to do. In the case of Peter, it was to “feed my sheep”. What is the Lord calling you to do?