Tuesday, April 20, 2010

that ugly word betrayal

Remember being back in high school when your best friend told all your secrets? Maybe you had a friend gossip about you behind your back? Maybe you have had lies told and shared about you from those you love that are untrue and hurtful?
Betrayal is ugly. It cuts like a knife, but only it digs in deep and leaves a scar that doesn't heal so fast. Many times it leaves such a big scar that others can see it clearly.

Maybe your betrayal came from a boyfriend who said he loved you only to use you and throw you away like you were trash? Maybe betrayal has reached you through your husband or wife and betrayed those beautiful vows that stood for love and promise?

It can happen at school, at our work place as others fight their way to the top and it can even happen within the pews at our Church's.

Feeling betrayed is never an emotion we can grasp. When you trust another and they hurt you with betrayal how do you begin to trust again? Once we are betrayed it is hard to open up to others again, its hard to share and trust another, and its even harder to remove that offense, forgive and move forward. It seems those ugly betrayals have a way of hanging on to us, bringing tears and pain only to carry in bitterness and anger as we soak in all those feelings.

Betrayal is a such a devastating blow to the heart that it can take years getting over and learning to let go and love again. But Jesus knows all too well about betrayal. Those who were trying to get ahead of Him, fearful of His power and position,and those who told lies about Him, attacking with a vengeance never let up. Look at His own family? They too betrayed Him, along with His followers and friends. Those friends He held dear to His heart betrayed Him when He needed them the most. Sound familiar to your heart?

Remember Judas? He sold his friend and his Savior for silver? And what did that silver bring to him? Only pain and humiliation that brought him to take his own life. Did Judas not understand what a blessed friend Jesus was until it was too late or was he always just out for himself?

What about Peter, who stood and heard the stories of Jesus and sat with Him as He shared His heart? Peter betrayed his friend and his Savior for what? He denied knowing Jesus three times. Not just once, but three. What was going through Peter's mind when he spoke those words saying he didn't know Him? He walked away with pain in his own heart, for he knew what he had done, but didn't want to see it for himself. His fear got the best of him.

Just when Jesus needed His friends to stay with Him in the garden while He prayed, they fell asleep. Ever fall asleep on a friend, and not show up when they need you the most?

I could be Judas, Peter or the disciples standing in the garden. I may never had denied Jesus as my Savior by my mouth, but I am sure I have with my actions. I may not have been sold out for pieces of silver, but all that "Stuff" calling my name? I put those fleshly lusts before Him many times. When I put the things of this world over Christ I am denying Him. I am denying His glory and honor. When I am causing another to stumble I am betraying my love for my Savior, for I am placing myself first. Ever do so?

I have been on both sides of betrayal, and being honest, neither side is a blessing. In my being betrayed I felt alone and lost, hurt and disowned, but in my betraying another, I too felt the very same when the truth set in.

We can stay bitter or we can become better. We can hold on to so much hate and anger that it begins to take over our lives and begins to define us. We become that bitterness that hurt us in the beginning. If we are not able to forgive how then can we ask Jesus to forgive us? Its in that forgiveness that we find real peace, real comfort and we can move forward onto finding the joy that the Lord has for us.

Everyone will let us down at one point or another. None of us are perfect, we must give room for mistakes. For Jesus is the Perfection before us, and He shows us in His word forgiveness of those who have betrayed us. On the cross Jesus asked His Father to forgive them for they not know what they do. When we can accept that we are not perfect we will stop expecting it from others. When we expect perfection from those around us we are setting them up for failure, for they will never be able to meet our expectations.

If you are holding on to the hurt and anger this morning from the betrayal that has touched your life, let it go. Just simply let it go, and let God heal you. Even if you never hear an apology from the one who has betrayed you, forgive. Its through that forgiveness we find healing.

When I was raped at nineteen, I held on to that anger and rage for many years. It wasn't until I let it go that I began to heal. In high school when I was beat up daily, I held on to such hurt for years, but at some point I had to let it go to find myself and grow into the person the Lord has called me to be.

Whatever has touched your life and has brought deep pain, remove that anger for that offender and pray for them. Pray they too can come to healing. Pray they too will find peace that the Lord is so wanting them to have in Him. Pain reaches both sides of betrayal. Today can be the day you let it all go. That person who took your job, that person that took your trust, that person that robbed you of all your self worth, those that have caused hurt and pain in your life, they too must face Christ one day. Allow the Lord to move in their lives as it is His will, and allow your heart to forgive so you too can live in His will, full of grace and joy for all He has ahead for you today.When we give and surrender all our hurt, anger and bitterness, we allow God to move in awesome ways through us using us for His glory and honor.
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