Sunday, February 01, 2009

Is it in you?

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me."

They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, "Surely not I, Lord?" --Matthew 26:20-22

Do you think you have it in you to hurt the ones you love the most? I mean hurt them deeply enough to where they may never bring themselves to forgive you?

A while back a good friend of mine found out that her husband had cheated on her after nearly 15 years of being married. As I walked with her through her tsunami of emotions she told of how she found out, how wounded she felt, how she wanted to move forward. Of course she was going to address the issue with him. (She never "confronts problems" ... she "addresses issues.") I asked her what she planned on doing, assuring her that I would always be there for her, no matter what her decision.

What she said next took me a little bit by surprise. "We're all capable of deeply hurting the people we love most. In fact, I always thought I would have been the one cheating on him."

We all have a bit of Judas in us. We're all capable of doing the unthinkable to someone we hold dear to us -- ratting out a friend, repeating something told in confidence, taking advantage of a situation that is better left alone, or things even worse.

Even the disciples at the Last Supper recognized this. At the Last Supper Jesus told the twelve that one of them in that room was going to turn him over to the authorities. Often times when we read a familiar passage we tend to gloss over it. But take a closer look. Even though only one - Judas - was being referred to here, it flabbergasts me to think that each one thinks he could be the betrayer. Think of it - the three disciples that made up Jesus' most inner circle - Peter, James and John (the one whom Jesus loved) - believed at that moment that they could rat-out the Son of God to people who wanted him dead. The difference between Judas and the remaining eleven is that Satan had entered into him.

So what are we to do? How can we guard against this horrible affliction that lies dormant within us? James tells us "
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you" (James 4:7-8). Draw near to God through spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, worship, and fellowship with other Christians.

And if we do fail, what then? By all means, don't do what Judas did! He committed suicide by hanging himself, and in doing so, missed the full glory of the risen Christ! Instead, confess your sin to the one you hurt. Ask for their forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean that what you did was right. It opens the door to restoring your relationship and moving forward. Also, confess your sin to God. The Bible tells us that
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. His grace and mercy is infinitely more than we can ever imagine.

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