“Everyone suffers at least one bad betrayal in their lifetime. It’s what unites us. The trick is not to let it destroy your trust in others when that happens. Don’t let them take that from you.” ~ Sherrilyn Kenyon
When I reflect upon the gospels as I prepare my homilies, I try to put myself in the position of those who are discussed. What would it be like to be blind, but now can see? What would it be like to be crippled from birth only to have my limbs straightened? What would it be like to be dead and be called back to life?
And then, of course, there are the times that I try to put myself into the shoes of Jesus. What would it be like to be ignored by townsfolk? What would it be like to be taunted by religious elders? What would it be like to be betrayed or mocked by a fellow convicted person while hanging on the cross?
At those times, I must confess, I would make a terrible Jesus. I would have folded up and “gone home” long before it ever got to the point of humiliation, suffering, and crucifixion.
Jesus had a mission, though. His mission was to bring God’s peace, love, and reconciliation to a sinful, broken world. Why did people hate? Why did they hurt one another? Why did they reject the good around them? It was because their world — and they, themselves — was steeped in sin. They were lost.
If Jesus would have turned His back on us at the first sign of rejection, we would still be lost? Jesus, however, did not allow hatred or arrogance or bitterness or disbelief or even betrayal to keep Him from His appointed mission. That is how much He loved us.
We have been redeemed and our possibility for resurrection has been restored. But, we still live in a world tainted by sin and we are tempted to embrace the values of the world and reject the values of Christ.
We have been hurt in our lives. We have been humiliated. We have even been betrayed. The mark of our character is reflected by how we deal with those realities. Is our love strong enough to embrace the one who humiliates, hurts, and betrays? Or, does the weakness of our human nature lead us to reject them and possibly seek revenge and retribution?
How we respond depends upon the answer to this question: Are we believers and followers of the Lord. Since we are called to do as He did, we must forgive, we must love, we must nurture others.
FAITH ACTION: Are you harboring hurt from a betrayal? Let it go and forgive that person in your heart. Have you betrayed another? Seek forgiveness.