Have you ever felt betrayed? How did you respond? What crosses your mind first when you think about that moment when you were hurt?
When you have been betrayed and choose “forgiveness,” you have passed the “Judas test!” Jesus is our most prominent example. He suffered the betrayal of one of the men closest to Him, Judas. And when in the most horrific moment of His life, in agony, nailed to a cruel cross…HE chose to pray and forgive his betrayers. In Luke 23:34 “Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,’ and they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”
Wow! Jesus is the bar for us! We have to forgive our betrayers. As Christians, Jesus is our purest example. If you are like me, my thoughts are, “This is hard, very hard” and I say to myself, “I’m not Jesus!” I am sure that is why there are other examples found in scripture of “man” passing the “Judas test!”
Joseph is the first that comes to mind. Sold into slavery by his jealous brothers…and living a horrible life…for years…from a pit…to slavery….to prison. We do see where Joseph ends up….”a palace.” We also see the forgiveness he extended to his brothers. Genesis 45:4-7, “Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come close to me.’ When they had done so, he said, ‘I am your younger brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.'” Joseph was betrayed by his own family!!!
Then we see Abraham and his nephew Lot. Satan attacked Abraham by provoking Lot to take the better land. Abraham chose the higher road by allowing Lot to take the good land and by not holding a grudge. We find this story in Genesis 13 where we see that one day Abraham and his nephew Lot realized that the land they lived on could no longer support both families and their flocks. They would have to split up.
But who should get first choice of the land? As Lot’s senior, Abraham had the right to make that choice. But that wasn’t the route Abraham took. Instead he allowed Lot to choose. Abraham knew he might be in for doom and even though he had the right to take the best, he gave up that right and Lot took full advantage. I love scripture. It gives us what I call the helicopter view.
Later we see that by Abraham adopting the “weak” position, it became a position of strength. Do you remember what Lot chose? It was Sodom and if you know scripture at all, that becomes a position of weakness for Lot in which he and his family had to flee. There is much, much to learn from the life of Abraham in scripture.
That’s the paradox of the Christian life, isn’t it? As the apostle Paul states, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong,” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
As Christians we have to choose to do the Hard RIGHT thing. Forgiveness to a “betrayer” seems weak but it is truly strength.
It is there where we TRUST God with our hearts and NOT man. What is true of our Lord is true of us. When we give up our rights and our resentments and allow God to work as HE sees fit, our weakness becomes our strength. It really is true…”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” (Philippians 4:13). He and He alone has the helicopter view!
Remember, forgiveness should not be confused with reconciliation. There are times of conflict in our lives when it’s impossible and even undesirable to be reconciled with the person who betrayed and hurt us. There are some hurters who choose to keep being “destructive” and never turn from their ways. They refuse to “see” their sin, their responsibility. Therefore, they make reconciliation impossible. They are the repeat offenders or ones who refuse to allow God to not only redeem, but reform them. But to remain bitter is not an option.
I encourage you today…to assume a position of weakness by surrendering…your will to God’s. He for sure 100% of the time desires for any of us to forgive. Even when your emotions don’t line up, show that you trust Him to work everything out by being obedient to doing the hard right thing. :o)
“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” ~Corrie ten Boom