And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.
Browse any social media outlet and you will see a constant stream of people sharing the best snapshots of their life. It’s natural to share our success stories, but revealing our failures can be even more valuable. Failures not only help us become wiser, they can be used to strengthen others.
Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. Luke 22:31-32
In Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 of this post, we examined Simon Peter’s denial of Jesus. This failure caused Simon Peter great distress. We read in Luke 22:62 that he wept bitterly immediately after it happened. This was a pivotal point in Simon Peter’s life. He could stay discouraged and defeated because of his actions, or he could choose to remember Jesus’ words – “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers”.
God can turn our missteps into something valuable if we refuse to dwell in our guilt. Denying Jesus was a disheartening action from a leader like Simon Peter, but Jesus forgave him (John 21:15-19) and God used him later to write 1st and 2nd Peter. This is where Peter shares what he learned from his failure for the benefit of other believers. He realized that he fell prey to spiritual warfare and warns us with these verses:
1 Peter 4:7: “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”
1 Peter 5:8-9: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
What failure have you experienced that could be shared to help another believer? In what ways are you still living in condemnation for that defeat? Read Romans 8:1-2 for further study.