"He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep." John 21:17
As any of us might imagine and certainly feel if we were in his place, Peter was wracked with guilt over what could easily be the second greatest sin of all time (the "original sin" being the first). He had denied his Lord and Savior not once or twice but three times. You will recall that he even cursed while doing it. Having had his Lord restored to him after the greatest miracle known to man, he was forced to endure what he felt was the shame of having to profess his love for the the Lord not once or twice but a third time.
Beloved, Peter need not have felt this way. Rather than being persecuted by the Lord, he was actually being restored by the Lord. If any among the apostles were a leader, it was surely him. Though he was arguably closest to Jesus and therefore committed the greatest seen by denying him, he was now being given the ultimate forgiveness. More importantly than this, however, is Jesus' implicit message that Peter needs to forgive himself. It can clearly be seen that Jesus is over it (if in fact he was ever bothered by it) evidenced by his charging him to shepherd the flock. Peter was not in a position to wallow in his own misery. Jesus had work for him to do.
Forgiving ourselves can be among the most difficult things in life to do. We have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory. We all have skeletons in the closet. We all have things we regret. If we allow those things to weigh us down and keep us in guilt laden misery, we will never be able to do the things with which we have been charged by our Lord. Whatever it is that you have done and repented of, know that Christ has forgiven you. Forgive yourself. Get to work.
Loving Like Jesus,