Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The betrayer within

Today’s Reading: Acts 1:15-17 (NIV)

15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus – 17 he was one of our number and shared in this ministry.

Good morning!

Have you ever been betrayed by a friend?

It is not easy to be hurt by someone you trust. I’ve never met anyone who has not been hurt at some point in their lives by a family member or friend. It seems to sting a whole lot more when the ones we love do and say things that cut us to the quick. The life scars that form become thick and tough, and it is nearly impossible to get past a world of hurt and pain.

This is the sad story of Judas, the betrayer. He was welcomed unconditionally into the group by Jesus and, even though he was a different kind of guy, the brothers accepted and loved him as one of their own. They didn’t always understand his thoughts about the Master, and wondered how he could have acted with such disregard after being exposed to all the same teachings and experiences while walking with Jesus in the flesh.

We may never know what Judas was truly thinking, or why he chose to act in the manner in which he did. It is sometimes easier to take at face value what little information we have about the heart of this man, and form our own judgmental conclusions.

Have you ever said or done something to someone that you would give anything to take back today? Did your actions leave deep scars embedded in the heart of someone who once loved and trusted you? Judas’ life story could have been Simon Peter’s story, or my story for that matter. It is hard for me to look at the condemned and conclude from what little I know that his soul intent was to betray our Lord into the hands of evil men. Inside the chest of the betrayer beat a bleeding and broken heart.

When I deny Jesus Christ by not loving others the way that He loves me, my heart becomes hardened, just like that of the betrayer. It is really easy to think more highly of ourselves that we should. We want to believe that we would never intentionally hurt another; yet, we often do, and we know it when it happens. We want to profess that we show unconditional Christ-like love to all people, not just our neighbors, co-workers, family and friends. How true is that statement in your life today? How far would you go to reach them if you knew their souls were at risk of eternal separation? How can we live, knowing there are people who are lost, who desperately need to know and experience the love of Christ and we choose to keep silent?

If we are truly honest with ourselves, then we can say there is a little Judas living in each of us. Here’s some really good news for a day like today: Jesus Christ carried our lame excuses, self-justification and preconceived notions that push our personal preferences and self-will ahead of God’s plan for His creation. By His stripes, we are healed. His blood was poured out for every bleeding and broken heart who knows the overwhelming pain of betrayal. We can be finally free of the Judas within when we choose to humble our hearts, confess our sin, and repent.

Please do not hesitate another minute, for every human heart needs to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Will you tell them?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO



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