When Jesus called Simon “the Rock,” (the name Peter is actually translated to mean Rock) Simon was actually quite the opposite. He was very temperamental and impulsive. He questioned Jesus. He even denied knowing him, three times!
That isn’t very rock-like behavior. So why did Jesus give Simon this name?
Because Jesus saw Simon for who he would be – the best version of himself – rather than for who he was.
Jesus didn’t bring attention to the fact that Simon was so temperamental by calling him something like “the River.” He brought attention to the fact that Simon was capable of growing and becoming “the Rock.”
When we offer love freely – as Jesus did/does – we aim to bring out the best in people. We see their strengths through their weaknesses, and we nurture them. I believe Jesus saw that Simon would be the foundation of his Church, but I also believe Jesus was a wise man who knew this positive encouragement would help Simon grow.
We are allowed to see the weaknesses of others, but it is important that we see and nurture their strengths. Even our enemies can grow to become saints. We will find it easier to love and accept our enemies if we judge them by the best version of themselves; even if that version hasn’t yet come to fruition.