Saturday, February 6, 2010

Have you met my friend Judas?

Have you met my friend Judas? I am sure you have. Oh, he’s your friend too. I thought so. I had a sneaky suspicion of such. Therefore, now that it’s clear that we share the same friend I think for the purpose of this blog I’m going to use the word “her” or “she” since most of my readers are women.

Judas! She’s the one who says she’s your friend. She may not be your “best friend” but a friend nonetheless. She’s one that may be in your closest circle of friends; or one who is the closest to you at work; or maybe she co-labors with you at church doing kingdom work. Somewhere in your sphere of life, she is there and she is more than just an acquaintance, she’s someone you consider a friend. At least you thought she was. Until one day, you find out that she has betrayed you. Yep, you can’t believe it but she betrayed you and not only once but several times. Oh, she doesn’t know that you know about her betrayal but you do. You found out either by accident, by someone else sharing the good news of her betrayal with you, or as God would have it, through a spirit of discernment that puts two and two together and it equals betrayal.

Betrayal is a harsh sounding word isn’t it? Nevertheless, it is what it is. And it hurts. I mean after all, she’s supposed to be a friend so what would lead her to do this? Why couldn’t she just come to you and talk to you instead of going to others? Good questions. I can offer some suggestions such as, envy, jealousy, she wants to look good in the eyes of others, she needs the approval of people, insecurity, she wants to see you fail; she’s sick and tired of you getting all the praise. The list goes on and on doesn’t it? I bet you can add a few more reasons why someone has betrayed you.

A while back, our pastor finished a three-week series on “FRIENDS”. He mentioned several characteristics that should be evident in a friend. Betrayal wasn’t one of them. Hmmm! Yet, we see that quality more than we would like in people who call themselves friends.

As you can imagine, I have been a recipient of betrayal. Oh, yes, it hurt. In addition, it caused me some anger and bitterness. The saddest thing that came out of it was that I have lost the trust and respect for that person, which is something that will take a long to be restored. However, I know that our God is in the business of restoration and that all things are possible through Him. So I am trusting Him to do just that in His time and in His way.

I got to thinking though about Jesus and Judas. Judas was part of Jesus’ inner circle. He spent night and day with Him for three plus years. Yet time after time, He betrayed the One who was going to lay down His life for him. In His humanness, I am sure that just like us; Jesus was hurt by the betrayal. Yet, He never stopped loving Judas. He loved Him right up until the end. Knowing that Judas was going to betray Him, Jesus still washed his feet. What would you do if you knew that someone in your inner circle was going to betray you? Would you wash their feet? Would you continue to love them?

It was in the Garden, where Jesus spent His last free hours agonizing in spirit that his friend, Judas, one of his closest friends and part of His inner circle, would betray Him. We see it told in Matthew 26 verses 48 through 50. We see Judas telling the chief priests and elders of the people that the one he kisses, He is the one; seize Him. Immediately, he goes up to Jesus, says, “Greetings, Rabbi!”, and kissed Him. The literal translation is that he kissed him repeatedly. Why? For identification purposes. He wanted to be sure that they got their man. Imagine Jesus and what He must have felt to see His betrayer face to face once again, but this time he was with those who would see to it that Jesus was crucified in just a few hours. What does He do? What would you do? It’s bad enough to have someone betray you behind your back, but to experience it face to face would be more than I can bear. However, that was not the case for Jesus. He calls him friend. Even after being betrayed, He calls him friend. Jesus never stopped loving Him. He was ready to die for him.

After I thought about Jesus and Judas, I realized that my Lord knows exactly how I feel for He experienced the same thing. That brought such a comfort and peace to me that those feelings of anger and bitterness are gone. Praise be to God for what Satan meant for harm God means for good. He will bring good even out of a betrayal all for His glory.

The lesson for those who have been betrayed by someone who is supposed to be a friend, is to remember that Jesus knows your pain and allow Him to help you release those hurts to Him. Remember, if someone has betrayed you, they have betrayed our Lord. They will have to answer to Him. This is something we as Christians lose sight of way too often, that when we sin, we forget that in reality we are sinning against God. The Prodigal realized that he sinned not only against his father, but heaven as well. Our Heavenly Father knows how to handle our hurts so leave it in His hands and rest assured that HE will handle it in His own way and in His own time.

The Word is clear that another lesson for us is to continue to love our “enemies.” If they aren’t our friends as we thought and have betrayed us, then they are truly are enemies. Yet we are to love them. Remember, love is a verb; it’s an action, not that “oooey goooey” feeling. Don't wait until you "feel" like you can love them or that time may never come. Read 1 Cor. 13 for a better understanding of what love is according to God.

Jesus never gave up on His Judas and I won’t give up on mine, how about you?

The last thing I want to say is that whatever you do, do not be a Judas. Remember the times of being betrayed, how you felt, the hurt and the tears caused by someone you considered a friend. Take a stand against the beckoning call of Satan to turn against someone close to you. Stand strong in your spirit and seek God's wisdom of how to handle your situation so that your friendship remains intact. And remember, when we sin against or hurt each other, we are sinning against and hurting our Lord.

It is my prayer that as we read about Judas and Jesus' response to him, that we too will learn how to love those who betray us. Zechariah 4:6 tells us how to do that - "not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord Almighty." You cannot love someone on your own. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is your helper.

Lean on Him to overcome those hurts and allow Him to wipe away your tears. It's for those tears He died.

In Christ’s love,



Anonymous said...

A poignant and personal piece and packed with truth. Keep on writing my dear! What a blessing to see wisdom arise in the aftermath of pain - a love lesson for us all.
Love, Barbara

Anonymous said...

He also said it would be better for Judus had he never been born. I don't think Christ's message is keep traitors in your life.