One of you will betray me

If you’ve ever been betrayed, you know how painful it is.   You placed your love and trust in someone very close to you.   Now that person has irreparably damaged your relationship.   How could they have done such a thing?

Jesus too experienced the pain of betrayal.   Scripture tells us that as he thought about what Judas was about to do, Jesus became “deeply troubled” (John 13:21).   Judas had stuck with him for so long, through thick and thin, and now, at the very end, he turns on Jesus.   No wonder Jesus was upset!

But Jesus was also troubled because he knew that Judas would end up deeply regretting his decision—to the point of taking his own life because his guilt felt so intense.

It didn’t have to end that way.   Peter also betrayed Jesus by denying him, and all the disciples fled when Jesus was arrested.   But their betrayals didn’t destroy their relationship with Jesus because they embraced his mercy.

Betrayal is so damaging because we instinctively want to protect ourselves from being hurt a second time.   But Jesus shows us how powerful forgiveness can be.   It can restore even the most damaged relationship.

If you are hurting from a betrayal, you may have no desire to forgive that person.   Ask for this grace anyway.   Even if you think it’s impossible to forgive or that the relationship can be restored, remember:   nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).

Maybe the person who betrayed you is someone from your past whom you will never see again.   Maybe it’s someone who has never asked you for forgiveness.   Sometimes because of circumstances, it’s not wise to renew the relationship.   Even if that’s the case, God doesn’t want you to be weighed down by hurt and resentment.   He wants you to forgive that person from the heart so that he can free you.

It’s all too common for people to turn against one another as Judas and Peter turned against Jesus—and for many reasons as well.   But we don’t have to live under the shadow of betrayal.   Jesus died for our forgiveness so that he could heal even our deepest hurts.

Word Among Us

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