Jesus said, ‘The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.’ Matthew 26:24
Today is the day of Jesus’ betrayal. He is deliberately exposed to harm through a trusted friend’s actions.(Matthew 26:14-16) There is perhaps no more bitter a pill to swallow than a friend’s disloyalty. Our safe space is destroyed and we must face unexpected consequences. We are ill prepared and feel the pain deep within. My wife Jayne experienced abandonment by her then-husband when she was seven months pregnant. The bitterness of that occasion has left its grubby fingerprints impressed upon her life.
Forgiveness is extended, yet the sharp pain of rejection remains. We are created for relationship – hence our friendship with God. So it is deeply distressing when a friendship is broken. There is seldom an opportunity to process the loss with the one who betrays us. We are left to conjecture on the reasons why and instinctively become suspicious of all relationships.
Jesus acknowledges the sanctity of honesty and loyalty even as He condemns Judas’ action. It’s not Judas, but the choice Judas takes and acts upon. Each of us is subject to thoughts both good and bad. In themselves these must be managed. Yet, once acted upon they have impacts that may reach well beyond anything we imagined. Wholesome relationships are the currency of God’s Kingdom. We are to love others to the same degree that we love ourselves.(Mark 12:30-31) God forgives us to the degree that we forgive others.(Matthew 6:12)
This equally applies to our relationship with God. This is unique and precious and whilst we shall make mistakes, as St. Peter clearly illustrates, there is a way back to God through acknowledgement and forgiveness. However, when we fail to address the break, we choose to stand beyond God’s reach.
Something to Consider: Are there friendships that have ended badly either by you or by another? Consider what prayer and action you can take to break down the remaining walls of hostility between you.(Ephesians 1:14-18)
An Action to Take: If you are asking yourself, ‘What do I do when I can’t forgive? Is reconciliation always possible? Does God condemn me? How can I forgive myself?’, then read Insight into Forgiveness. Visit edwj.org/ma21-1apr
A Prayer to Make: ‘Lord, help me to break down those walls of hostility that imprison me, by Your grace and forgiveness.’
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.
Photo by Rostyslav Savchyn on Unsplash
Used with Permission