In the book of Acts, beginning in the third chapter, Peter and John spoke about the deep desire to understand how love had overcome death in the resurrection. After all, these were people who had shouted, “Hosanna in the highest” when Jesus entered Jerusalem, only to cry out for His crucifixion just days later.
These people were at a loss, looking to the apostles for an explanation for these mysteries and certainly for help with the pain of confusion they must have felt.
Because Peter and John had been witnesses to great love and had been loved greatly, they had compassion for the community that wanted to heal.
Here are the steps that Peter and John offered the people in the face of their brokenness:
Step 1: Repent of your sins – In Acts 3:19, Peter invited the crowd of people to begin their journey of understanding by repenting of their sins. Part of our pain comes from our own thoughts, words, and deeds. We repent of things that we have done and left undone so that we can love again with our whole hearts.
Step 2: Remain in fellowship – In Acts 2:46-47, Peter knew that for the people to grow, they needed to seek out fellowship of faith where they could grow. This scripture shows us that we cannot grow if we can’t expand and strengthen our hearts if we stay comfortable where we are. Communities of faith teach us new ideas about how to live more fully.
Step 3: Live in generosity – We give generously because of all the mercy and grace we have been shown. A grateful heart is a healing heart throughout the journey. Acts 4:32 tells us that all the believers were one in heart and mind. Then, the scripture explains how the people shared everything they had with a grateful heart.
Step 4: Heal one another – My healing is bound to your healing. I pray for you; you pray for me. The Acts of the Apostles is filled with stories of healing through the work of the community. Healing love is meant to be shared with one another. Our desire to help others find healing keeps us close to God.
With these four steps in mind, everyone can begin to expand and strengthen their hearts. Peter and John’s advice offers us a way to heal through God’s Spirit within us. Also, these scriptures focus on the desire we have been given to love deeply from the soul.