On Holy Week Jesus was taken to the high priest in Jerusalem. in order to be tried for blasphemy. The disciples scattered to avoid arrest. This fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy that the shepherd would be struck and the sheep would scatter. The Apostle Peter descended from simply running away so as to avoid being seen with Christ to outright denial that he even knew him when questioned by the crowd.
It is hard to think that this is the same man who stood before the same leaders after Easter Sunday and refused to stop preaching about the death and resurrection of Jesus, even when he was punished brutally for doing so. Not only was there a way back for Peter, but a restoration to an even greater place than where he had originally been. Peter in the depth of despair did not use the pain to curse God or deny God. Instead it gave him the focus to turn to God, to repent himself of his sin and to receive forgiveness. We cannot give or receive genuine and lasting forgiveness without a true turning to God. We can torment people and torture them and at times kill them if we posses a horribly mangled understanding of God. We can murder indiscriminately, anywhere and anytime as well, especially when we posses a warped perception of God.
But we could never forgive. Warped understandings of God never allow for real accurate forgiveness. They allow for evil and we could argue even encourage it, but they never equip the person to forgive or receive forgiveness. That can only come from a real and proper relationship to God and of who he is and what he has done through his Son.
Wherever you are right now or have been in the past, there is always a way back. Not even to where you once were, but to somewhere even better. And should you opt to walk this Christian way this Easter and beyond you will find it is not a lonely pilgrimage, the going down to where Peter was is, but the rising up again certainly is not.