Within the first few moments of accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you become a target of the world. Building relationship with God sharpens your Spiritual armor for the battles ahead. Even if you are mentally prepared to fight the world, nothing prepares you to fight those you love whom are in the world. What happens when the ones whom you love so deeply betray you? Do you believe he/she is redeemable? If you were unjustly slandered and others called your character into question, could you forgive? What if you never receive an apology, could you forgive then? These are the questions I’ve had to answer for myself recently. The act of being “crucified” by those I care for, when my witness and walk with God shows it’s power in my life, is a feeling that isn’t foreign to me. God never allows me to be caught off guard but the pain doesn’t hurt any less; if anything, it feels like the pain gets stronger and deeper each time. In time, I’ve learned that my relationship with God must go deeper, stretch farther and my spiritual armor must be tougher each time a trial comes. I found myself faced with heartbreak like none I’ve ever felt recently, I took shelter when it hit, not because I wasn’t ready but because if felt as if my heart completely dissolved into my chest and left my body through my tears. However, this isn’t simply a tale of a broken heart, it’s a love story that must be told.
4yrs ago, God granted me the greatest gift to date, a son! My son was delivered to me not by birth, but by the grace and mercy of God. He was 16yrs old, struggling to maintain his focus and had trouble structuring his identity. His Mom made one of the toughest decisions she’s ever had to make as a Mother; she put her son on a plane and sent him to Texas to live with his Father and I. I assured her that we have the same goal, to see him graduate from high school and become more independent. Little did I know, her pain would later become my saving grace. The gift of a son allowed me to experience a love like I’ve never known, a love that opened a part of me that I didn’t know even existed. A love that would one day hurt like no other. As much as I love my son, the reality is, he’s caught, feeling like he has to choose. There’s the path that he wants to follow, the path he’s expected to follow and the path that he’s supposed to follow according to God. I’m aware it’s not possible to love two masters, but my beloved son is torn between three. There are the two masters who war with each other and there’s God the Master of all Whom will win in the end. As opposed to responding to the challenge set before him to be greater, my son chose the path that best fit his agenda; age and maturity decided for him. It’s the hidden clause that is attached to his decision that I worry most about, everyday I pray for God’s mercy for the tough road ahead.
My son’s decision included unjustly slandered his Father and myself for selfish gain. I forgave him, 4yrs ago on the day he arrived in Texas; I was never afraid to sacrifice my heart to him, though it didn’t make the pain of betrayal any easier. Relationship with God grants me the privilege of discernment, it has allowed me to protect my heart in ways that are strange to others. My car has so many dried tears lodged in it’s crevices that I’m sure it’ll be completely rusted over by Winter. My comfort lies in knowing that God is pleased, because I chose to love him (my son) despite what I had been shown. I chose God’s path over my own.
4yrs ago God sent me the following message: “Do not grow weary in well doing, for your reward will not come from man but from Me. They will crucify your names and reputation for jealousy’s sake. And I will make you fertile and give you good seed to plant. They will tell lies to everyone who is willing to listen, many will listen. And I will increase your wealth, there will be no lack. They will think their anger is justified and in My name. And I will sustain you and your husband through this trial, I will soften the heart of your (his) son. Your children (his children) will turn their backs on you, I will deal with them harshly and thus cause everyone to yield to you both for help. And I will uproot the pride of the Father and lead the son back to his Father, never to stray again. These are your rewards; if first, you forgive and do these things that I have asked of you.”
I sat with this message for 4yrs, only revealing it to one person. Forgiving someone who hurt you by mistake is difficult but possible. Forgiving the betrayal of someone you love so deep & so pure, when the betrayal was intentional, is soul crushing. How does one tell a parent what’s ahead? You don’t, you provide hope during the trial to prevent them from giving up. I pray that God offers such hope to my husband during this difficult time. In the midst of my sorrow, I found peace in the story of Judas; a story that I’ve heard thousands of times, but this time an unexpected gem was revealed. By the end of the message, not only did I cry for Judas but I understood Jesus’ love for him and why Jesus forgave him.
WHO WILL CRY FOR JUDAS?
Most Christians are familiar with the events that led Jesus’ crucifiction, specifically the betrayal. It’s widely known that Judas, who was a disciple, betrayed Him for selfish gain; then Judas committed suicide. Rarely do we review the story from the perspective of the villain, never do we sympathize with what he must have mentally gone through that lead him to suicide. We gloss over the fact that, before His death, Jesus forgave him. How difficult do you think it was for Jesus to forgive someone He loved, knowing that this person was the catalyst of His death, in order for Jesus to be resurrected and do His Father’s will? How many of us have been faced with situations that are difficult to forgive? I LOVE my son, I bonded with my son, I spent time with my son, I broke bread with my son and I sacrificed for my son. I want the best for my son but I sent him off KNOWING that he would ultimately become the catalyst for my promotion in God and I STILL forgave him.
The stories of the Bible were put in place to help us navigate the trials of life and provide comfort for our pain. The story of Judas tells us that God placed Judas in Jesus’ path. Jesus called him friend, called him brother, loved him just as much (or more) than others. God TOLD Jesus that Judas would betray Him but didn’t remove Judas from the company of His son Jesus. Jesus broke bread with him the night of the betrayal. Judas betrayed Jesus for material possessions that didn’t even measure up to what Judas ended up losing in the end. Judas allowed Jesus to be slandered, attacked, shamed, crucified, killed, DESPITE the fact that Jesus was blameless. Even after he was exposed as the betrayer and forgiven, the weight of Judas’ actions began to sink in, evident in the fact that he tried to reverse his actions by returning the money. When Judas realized that it was too late to right his wrong, when he realized he sentenced his Friend to die, he hated himself and committed suicide.
When Judas was consumed with guilt where were the friends, that he once called brother, to wrap their arms around him & forgive him? Where were those who witnessed Jesus forgive Judas, despite his betrayal? Why was Judas left ALONE to suffer with the guilt of how he betrayed Jesus, did the others not feel remorse for denying Jesus, for not stopping Judas, or did they feel that Judas DESERVED to suffer the pain of guilt alone? You see, Jesus knew that one of his friends would betray Him for money, and the others would deny Him to save their own lives. Jesus was hurt deeply to know that those closest to Him would also turn their backs on Him. When we remember that Jesus was not a god but the SON of God born as a man, we know that He experienced human emotions that were only overcome through His relationship with God.
The story of Jesus’ betrayal teaches us to be mindful not to become so focused on the betrayal that we overlook God’s plan, which is that God’s glory and power is demonstrated BEST in our lives AFTER A BETRAYAL. How many of us are so consumed with hurt that we cannot forgive those who betray us? WE decide that he/she deserved EVERYTHING that they got because of their actions. We must remember that God replenishes anything that is stolen. Unfortunately, many people have been left alone, thinking their sin was too great of a burden and committed suicide as a result of unforgiveness. If you can forgive, your public execution will also give birth to your public resurrection!
I forgave my son for his betrayal because he deserves it. Because I forgave him, I do not wallow in bitterness, instead I cry for him because I know that God’s correction is much harsher than any punishment I could deliver as his parent. I want him to know that he is loved, I don’t want him to feel like anything he does makes him unworthy of forgiveness. The burden of betrayal is not just carried by one person: the victim bears it’s weight for a time, believers (those who participate in slander, etc.) share it’s weight for a moment, but the perpetrator carries the weight for a lifetime. Forgiveness sets everyone free.
I (now) cry for Judas! 😢