There is a scene in Luke’s gospel where Peter denies Jesus three times. Immediately following his denials, Peter sees Jesus turn and “looked straight at him” (Luke 22:61). I have often seen this scene through the lens of rebuke. I have pictured Jesus giving Peter a stare of disappointment. Perhaps the faint whisper of “Oh Behave!” can be heard coming from Christ’s lips. When we view Jesus’ gaze this way, it becomes easy to assume that this is how Jesus looks at us.
Unringing the Bell of Condemnation
I once sat with an elderly gentleman who told me that whenever he would step out of line, his father would wag his finger and declare “God will get you for that.” He heard this phrase so often that it stuck with him, becoming the very basis of his picture of God. Despite his years in the church, the countless sermons he listened to, and the hours spent in prayer and ministry, he couldn’t unhear a message of condemnation. It was like a bell that could not be un-rung.