How could you?

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That person sitting there across from me was crushed, broken, beyond tears with a sorrow so heavy you could feel it in the room. Was it death or sickness? No, it was betrayal! His spouse walked out of the home to be with another love, abandoning the family.  Who has not experienced a friend’s treachery, a colleague’s rejection, a failure of a relationship?  I know personally that ache that follows the failure of a relationship. How many millions have wondered, “How could he do that to me? Why did my friend walk away?”

Jesus, as He faced the anguish of the Cross, also suffered betrayal! At the Passover meal, the night of His arrest, John tells us the story.  “After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant.” (John 13:21-22, NIV)  It hurt the Lord to know that a man close to Him, one of the Twelve, was planning to sell Him to those who would crucify Him.  He was ‘troubled in spirit.’  We have an image of a serene Jesus, living in perpetual calm, but He was fully human and in truth He knew the same kinds of emotions that we feel. That night He felt the terrible loss of betrayal!

Let me turn this thought in two directions. The first is obvious.

Are you faithful to the Lord? Is your aim to love Him, serve Him, and live for Him – through it all? A hundred temptations would pull us away, inviting us to turn away.  “Not me,” you may say.  I wish we could be so confident in ourselves. We need the strength of the Spirit to remain faithful.  Sometimes spiritual betrayal is not full abandonment of all things godly.

Sometimes it is like that of the Laodiceans of the letter called Revelations. “Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says: “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.” (Revelation 3:14-17, The Message)  Yes, we can betray Jesus by just letting our zeal die, replacing passion with dutiful religion.

Now, let’s make it personal.

Are you struggling with betrayal? Has a spouse left you, a friend forsaken you, a colleague failed? Will you choose to forgive?  Jesus was direct in His words about it. Unless we forgive others, we cannot find the full forgiveness of God! Hard, isn’t it?  In the prayer He taught His disciples we say, “Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.”  Will we make that prayer a reality?  When we are betrayed, it is human to want to exact a price, to make the other person see their perfidy! But, revenge is not the way of the godly.  We hand the debt to God who judges. We let it go, for Jesus’ sake and we find His peace.

Said General Oglethorpe to Wesley, “I never forgive.”
“Then I hope, sir,” said Wesley, “you never sin.”

As much as we might hate to admit it, we have all failed – God, family, friends – at one time or another. May He give us the grace to offer the forgiveness that we will most certainly need.

There is this assurance. Live in this word from the Word today. We are secure, made whole, confident for eternity in the promise.
God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?” (Heb 13:5-6)

____________

One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)
(worship and find renewal with this song)

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in the trial and the change
One thing remains
One thing remains 

Your love
Your love
Your love will never change
 

Your love never fails
It never gives up
Never runs out on me

 Your love

 On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains
One thing remains

 In death in life I’m confident and
Cover’d by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid there’s nothing that
Can separate my heart from Your great love

 Your love

 Brian Johnson | Christa Black Gifford | Jeremy Riddle© 2010 ChristaJoy Music Publishing (Admin. by Bethel Music Publishing) Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Vineyard Music USA) Bethel Music Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

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