"But Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"
I have had conversations with several people, some believers, some not, about being used and betrayed by those close to you. One woman, in particular, has become a hero to me--how she has overcome adversity and a chasm of depression, moving on to helping others by auctioning a car to help others who are suicidal.
This is a treasure, a person who has been in the depths and once surfacing, goes back into the water to save others!
What do all these stories have in common? Are they all stories of abuse, hurt, terror? Yes. Were people's lives impacted and nearly destroyed due to the betrayal of others? Yes. Was there financial loss and emotional upheaval? Yes. However, the most important commonality is none of these. The most important thread that was weaved throughout is the brokenness of the human being.
We are all broken. Some of us hide it better than others. Some of us are calm, business like, professional--much like Drew Peterson, who is on trial this week, others are transparent, but there is something broken in each one, no matter how well it is hidden. Peterson is accused of murdering at least two women, abusing them mentally and physically. No one listened to the women, because he was so able to be calm and rational, until it was too late. We look on people like Peterson as monsters, but inside each of us is a Drew Peterson. Because we are all as filthy rags to the Lord. We all are human and built into us is a desire for self, a desire to have our way, a desire to control others and control situations for our own good.
So how then, do we answer betrayal? How do we respond to the person who is close to us, part of our inner circle, as was Judas, who betrays us with a kiss? Someone who instead of coming to God, strikes out, in anger, due to inability to handle situations, due to a need for the spotlight...whatever.
We could rail against them, we can judge them, we can hate...but in reality, all of those responses hurt only ourselves. A person who is broken will not be touched by your hurt, they may, in fact, have no empathy.
And, when you think about it, Judas was created by God, and his actions are part of the redemption story. He serves to remind us that even our Savior was hurt by those in his inner circle. There is truly nothing in our lives that our Savior has not felt, walked and lived.
What did Jesus do at the moment of betrayal? He simply let the person know he knew it was betrayal. "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" That's it.
The odds were stacked against the Lord. Those who knew the law used it against him in every way they could. They found someone to betray Jesus, they dragged him from court to court to court, pressing false charges, using the law to undermine him. If you were to look on Christ from a human perspective, he lost. He was crucified for crimes that were not his. He had loved totally and in exchange, he was scourged, spit upon, abused, and murdered. Yet, we know that the balance of justice is not in the hands of humans or mortal courts. The balance of justice is in the hands of the Lord, and He is still on his throne.
How much better to do what we must to protect others, to ensure that the cycle cannot continue, and then forgive. Forgive and pray ...because as much as you have been hurt, the person who has betrayed you is in pain or will be. They need forgiveness from the Lord, and we are all His children. They are as YOU are...in need of a Savior.
Once you have forgiven, you can move on to forgive yourself for being naive, for allowing yourself to be betrayed. Then you can help others. You may not donate a car for auction, but we can all do small things. We each can find someone else who is walking in the path we have trod, whom we can hold, hug, listen to, dry their tears. We can donate time and energy to an organization that helps others.
And we can be thankful that in our depravity, when we betrayed our Savior, he reminded us our sin, and called us back to him.
When offered the ability to forgive, to redeem, to restore...can we do any less if we call ourselves by His name?
My wise pastor reminded us this week that there is more to being a Christian than words. If we don't walk in His footsteps, then no matter what we call ourselves, God knows what we are. He knows if we have laid ourselves down for him...and are willing to do the hard things. Forgiveness and restoration--is hard. As it was for Him, so it is ....even for us.