WE can hardly open a newspaper without another story uncovering what an MP or high profile businessperson or celebrity has said that they shouldn’t have and it seems equally inevitable that we need to make things right by sacking them.
My favourite story of public failure is not a new one, though.
It’s the story of Peter.
When it came to the crunch and the pressure was on, when Jesus had been arrested and was facing death and attention turned to Peter, he denied being with, even knowing Jesus.
This was the very same man who said he would die for Jesus, but he didn’t follow through on his words at all.
In fact he turned his back on his friend, when he needed him most.
And then Jesus was crucified.
So what would be his response to the news that Jesus had risen?
As well as being overwhelmed with joy, surely he would have started to wonder what would Jesus say to him, and what would he say to Jesus?
But any such thoughts would be stopped in their tracks by Jesus’ message: “Go and tell the disciples and Peter.”
These last two words look at first glance to be utterly redundant and pointless.
Peter was after all one of the disciples, one of Jesus’ followers, so why the words “and Peter”?
Surely these are two of the most wasted words in the New Testament?
But from Peter’s perspective, these must be the two most welcome words in the world.
Peter who had betrayed him, denied him, is personally called back by name.
He is given a second chance.
Peter probably saw himself as a failure, that he was written off and had no future.
How easy is it for us to see ourselves or others in the same way?
But this is not how Jesus saw him.
It is not how he sees us.
He is a God of second chances.
A God who calls us back by name.
A God who wants us to learn from what we have done wrong and do right.
A God who wants us to know and show forgiveness.