When someone is severely injured, it’s often the case that they need to be stabilized before being moved. Moving the person could cause more damage. In our spiritual lives, the principle is the same. There are times when we fall that we need to stay down before we get back up.
In today’s passage we find Peter around a charcoal fire with people asking him, “Hey, do you associate yourself with Jesus?” He’s like, “Nah…Wait, did you say Jesús? ‘Cause I did know a Jesús back in 4th grade, but JESUS of, like, Nazareth? No, I’ve never really heard that name before actually.” After denying Jesus three times, the frame freezes as he hears the rooster crow. He must’ve thought to himself, “Nooooooo!!! I just did exactly what I said I would never do.”
The next verse really says it all. The text says, “And then Peter wept bitterly.” When you fall down, stay down—down in a place of repentance, down in a place, on your knees, where you are contrite, broken, and sorrowful over the mistakes and the sin that have existed for too long in your life. Find an altar. It can be in your bedroom, at your kitchen table, behind the steering wheel of your car. Get yourself into a place where you are sorrowful about the wrong that has been done in your life. Weep bitterly. The only way to overcome a failure is to walk straight through it. When we fall down and when we mess up, we cannot just push all the broken pieces into the corner of the room and step out and pretend to be fine, acclimating ourselves to our dysfunction. We have to have a Psalm 51 moment that echoes the cry of David: “Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Repentance cannot be overlooked. It is a crucial recurring theme in the life of the believer. This is actually what Jesus told Peter to do prior to his denials. He said, “I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Repentance means “to turn around.” When we fail, we confess it, for we have the power to conquer only what we confess.