As a healthy Christian you are called to build relationships with those you come into contact with. This means opening your life and even your heart at time. Opening up to believer and non-believer alike. And, when we live relationally; when we are transparent and vulnerable; when we invite others into our lives … we are likely to be hurt at times. Betrayed. Rejected. Misunderstood. Attacked.
We need to have a heart that does not allow unforgiveness to fester. We need to instantly forgive those what betray our trust and not allow the situation to damage our heart and our relationship with God. We need to learn to deal with betrayal.
How much money would you spend to get an hour to ask Jesus all the questions you’ve ever wanted to ask Him? In person. Face-to-face.
What would it be worth to you to go back to the first century and spend an entire weekend with Jesus, watching Him perform miracles, listening to His teachings. participating in private conversations, watching Him pray and interact with others?
Most of us would give anything and everything to have such an opportunity and resulting experience.
So, consider Judas. He had just such a weekend. And, in the midst of that weekend he betrayed Jesus. Seems somewhat ungrateful, doesn’t it? Jesus gave him a front-row seat to the most significant life ever lived, and Judas sold Him out.
And yet at the Last Supper, when Jesus washed His disciples feet, Jesus made sure that Judas was still present. Jesus knew that Judas was in the process of betraying Him and selling Him out for 30 pieces of silver. In a picture the sheer wonder of which leaves me in awe, Jesus used the two holiest hands that have ever existed, the two most precious hands in the history of mankind, the hands pierced for our salvation – Jesus took those exquisite hands and washed the feet of His betrayer.
Even in the face of ungratefulness and malice, Jesus kept the door open to relational reconciliation. He loved Judas to the end, essentially saying, “You can’t make me hate you. Your toxicity and anger and betrayal won’t change the way I act towards you.
Just as astonishing to me is what happened during the actual act of betrayal. When Judas walks up to Jesus to hand Him over to the soldiers, Jesus looks at Judas and says, “Do what you came for, friend” (Matthew 26:50)
How about skunk? How about snake?
Jesus said ‘friend’ because Jesus didn’t have any unforgiveness in His heart or soul. There was nowhere for unforgiveness and resentment to take root. He sets the example for all of us who call ourselves His disciples and followers.
God is radically for people. He wants everyone to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). As His followers, we also must be for everyone, even if we oppose what they are doing. If we must live and work with toxic people, our call is to make sure their toxicity doesn’t become ours. We don’t threat them as they treat us. We don’t offer evil in exchange for evil. We love. We serve. We guard our hearts so that we are not effected or poisoned by their bad example. And we must continue to love them unconditionally. Accept them just as they are. As well as forgive them when they speak against you and cause others to speak against you and reject you.
Follow the example of Jesus who still considered Judas His friend.