How well do you deal with people who betray you?
I’m reading a fascinating book by a former professor of mine who taught Psychology and Pastoral Care & Counseling. The book is Judas and the Criminal Mind. The author (Dr. Tom Ewald) delves into the reasons given to us in the Bible for Judas’s betrayal of Jesus. In the words of Jesus and the New Testament writers about him, we see incredible support for an antisocial criminal diagnosis of Judas. I am using this book for sermon preparation in a series I’ll be doing approaching Easter of 2019.
In reading this, it hit me how loving Jesus was toward this man He knew beforehand would betray Him. I believe Jesus offered Judas a chance to turn back from the path he was on. He allowed Judas to be in charge of the money for their missionary travels even though He knew Judas was a crook. He ate with Judas. Judas showed up with the group of men to arrest Jesus with clean feet because Jesus had washed his feet earlier that evening at the last supper.
Back to my original question: How well do you deal with people who betray you? Obviously, none of us have ever been betrayed to the degree Jesus was betrayed by Judas.
There are some people who make it very clear what they think of you. You don’t have to wonder. There are others who smile to your face and stab you in the back. How well do you handle that?
Jesus was such a model of love and patience. He was tempted in all ways we are tempted but was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). So I am sure Jesus was tempted to want to shame and embarrass Judas. But he didn’t.
Jesus told us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44). What does that look like? It means at the very least: being kind to them when you see them; not saying bad things about them to other people; serving them (as Jesus washed Judas’s feet); offering an opportunity for reconciliation; praying for them (genuinely); finding good in them. We should pray to God for strength to model the loving-kindness of Jesus to those who have betrayed us. We should also examine ourselves and see if we have betrayed others. If so, we should ask for their forgiveness.