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Justice without Anger

After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.”
Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” John 21: 15-19

We are told as Christians to seek and do justice, and I think we do, but we don’t always use wisdom. In fact, we seem to use the clearing of the Temple as a just cause to use our judgment and even our anger, no matter the situation. We try to apply Jesus’ righteous anger in the Temple to every situation and say, “Jesus is my example so I’m justified to react in anger here.”

That’s not true, though. We look at the one time He reacted in anger, and we miss all the other times when Jesus was calm and made things right with love.

Jesus-PeterEven when Peter denied Him, Jesus did not react in anger. The third time the cock crowed and Peter denied Him, Jesus found Peter and just looked at him. He didn’t react. He didn’t say, “I told you so.” He just looked over at him. And I don’t think He looked over at Peter in disappointment. I really don’t think Jesus was disappointed. He understood. Think about it: Jesus told Peter it was going to happen. If He knew it was coming, how could He be disappointed? Peter was the only one that was disappointed. He was disappointed in himself. Jesus just looked at him.

I think Jesus looked over at Peter with the eyes of love. He looked with compassion. It was as if He said, “Peter, I know. I know the battle that is going on inside of your soul right now. You feel really guilty. I know you do. But Peter, I’m going on the cross to take that away.”

Then when Jesus got off the cross, He met Peter on the beach. And He asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” I think Jesus asked Peter three times in three different ways to show Peter how much He loved him. “I love you,” He said, “in every way, shape and form Peter, and those three times that you denied me? I’m accepting you three times.”

Well that was a big deal for Peter. Jesus didn’t react. He didn’t get angry. He didn’t get frustrated. He didn’t say, “How dare you deny me? What were you thinking? How many miracles have you seen?” There was none of that. Jesus looked at Peter and said, “I love you.”

I think that Christians need to take that approach more often.

See you Monday.

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