by Christy Morrow, leader of our Grow Team
When Jesus called the first disciples, they had just come in from fishing. They had not caught anything. Jesus told them to “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” They did what Jesus said. It says that they “caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.” Peter says to Jesus in Luke 5:8: “…Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.”
I believe that Peter not only felt guilt, but also shame. Guilt says that what you have done is bad. Shame says: I am bad. When you feel shame, you take on the identity of the sin you committed. You begin to believe that you are bad and cannot be used by God. It can paralyze you. Jesus said to Peter, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” When we are afraid, we also feel paralyzed. Jesus conveyed several things with this statement: Don’t worry — I know what you’ve done and you are forgiven; Get moving — I know what you’ve done and I’m still using you.
God wants to use us in his work. We are often so paralyzed by our own shame, we do nothing but sit there and feel miserable. God assures us that if we repent, we are forgiven and he can use us. We are valuable to God. He knew we would struggle with shame. He assures us that we are forgiven and valuable to him. Rest in that knowledge. Your sins are forgiven and you are free! Not only free from the punishment of your sin, but also from the shame you feel because of your sin. YOU ARE FREE!