Good question. What sort of friend am I?
None of us can 100 % say we have never faltered or never hurt anyone. When someone betrays us, hurts us or disappoints us (whether it is intentional or not) we have to remember we too have been in Judas shoes. We too have hurt others, failed to love unconditionally, disappointed others whether it was intentional or not. I asked this question of the Lord today and then went searching (I had a personal reason for asking)… “Lord, Did you still consider Judas your friend after he betrayed you”? I then read in Matthew 26 where Jesus calls Judas ‘friend’ upon greeting him, as Judas led the Temple Guards of the Sanhedrin to arrest him. Judas betrayed Jesus. Jesus called him ‘friend.’ I had to let that sink in.
Betrayal is the breaking or violation of a presumptive contract, trust, or confidence that produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship amongst individuals, between organizations or between individuals and organizations. Often betrayal is the act of supporting a rival group, or it is a complete break from previously decided upon or presumed norms by one party from the others. Someone who betrays others is commonly called a traitor or betrayer.Wikipedia
I began thinking, “Lord, I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve betrayed trust, and I’ve been betrayed.” There are times, others will ‘feel’ betrayed whether or not that was the heart intent of the ‘betrayer.’ It matters not: the disappointment lingers and we have to fight to overcome the unloving thoughts, and to keep our hearts soft and pliable before the Lord. The only real choice is to forgive if we want to move on. There comes a time where you just ‘have to let go.’ Things may never be the same in the relationship: trust has been broken, though reconciliation is always a possibility. What a powerful image, Jesus, in the Garden, praying and waiting, and has known all along who was going to betray him, and yet he continued to love Judas and called him ‘FRIEND!” When I read this today it blew me away. I’m so grateful that Jesus STILL calls me ‘FRIEND’ when I mess up. Even when I fail, Jesus never fails. He’s constant. Jesus was staying true to His character and being obedient to His Father, to love and forgive Judas, though the relationship was severed forever. Betrayal affects relationships, but forgiveness empowers us to love like Christ did as we submit to Him, and take the ‘high road’. Judas was no longer in the inner circle and he no longer had access to Jesus, due to his own choices, BUT Jesus still loved him! That’s powerful, and amazing to me!
I’m reminded of Proverbs 18:24 : A man of many companions may come to ruin, BUT there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Jesus is that brother!
I want to be that kind of friend, though it is not always easy. The story of Judas and his betrayal has never really been about Judas, it’s always been about Jesus and his overpowering and all consuming love for us. It’s about Him being OUR friend, even when we don’t deserve His love and friendship.
Lord, help us to be more like you.