At one time or another, all of us have experienced some form of betrayal. Betrayal comes in so many forms: Gossip, cheating, lying, and treason to name a few. Whether it was a spouse, friend, co-worker, or family member, the pain can run so deep that it may seem you will never heal again.
The ultimate betrayal was found in the life of Jesus Christ. There are several accounts of betrayal he experienced from the people closest to him; to the absolute stranger who despised him. He was persecuted, betrayed, mocked, and murdered all for the sake of His ultimate purpose and sacrifice to die for our sins and to save the lost.
What should our reaction be when faced with betrayal? We should look to Jesus as the model of forgiveness. One example was in Luke 22:34. “And he said, I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny thou that knows me.
You may have experienced this situation at one time or another. You spot someone in a room or familiar place that you know. You could be at the grocery store, shopping mall, or social event and someone you know sees you across the room but instead of a smile or wave, they just turn their head like they don’t even know you.
This is just a minor example of how you may feel when someone doesn’t acknowledge your presence for whatever reason. Either way, it doesn’t feel good. Can you imagine how Jesus felt? The one closest to him denied him three times! There is nothing worse than a two-faced person. You may also question your relationship with that person even if they are only a co-worker, neighbor, or acquaintance. It’s a breach of faith in hopes of building a friendship or business relationship.
Another prime example was in Luke 22:48.“But, Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrays thou the Son of Man with a kiss?”Flattery is often buried under deceit. Sometimes the sweetest person is disguised as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You shouldn’t be suspicious of every kind and loving gesture but action speaks louder than words. As the saying goes, “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”
The ultimate betrayal was in Mark 10:33-34. “Behold, we go to Jerusalem and the Son of Man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and unto the scribes; and they should condemn him to death and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him and the third day he shall rise again.
Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins out of his love and forgiveness. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3: 16-21
There is only one account in the Bible that I’m aware of that God does not forgive. In Mark 3:29 it states, “But he who blasphemes or mocks against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.”
Forgiveness is not easy. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to forgive yourself. It is also a life-long process. The act of forgiveness releases us from the negative emotions that hold us in bondage to the person who hurt us. However, if you happen to be on the other side of forgiveness, a sincere apology is the least you can give to the person you hurt. Empathy, patience, and understanding will have to be worked through in each issue of any relationship.
Forgiveness is not something that can be taught. It is the most difficult thing to overcome in the flesh. Memories play over and over in your mind which makes it hard to let go. However, the quicker you can let go of the pain, the faster you can move on. You may never forget, but you can forgive.
The best thing you can do is to acknowledge your pain, accept what you’ve experienced, and walk in patience because it takes time depending on the level of deception attached to the pain. It’s much like the grieving process of a lost loved one.
Forgiveness also doesn’t mean you have to subject yourself to the same trifling people, situations, or circumstances. It means you can release the animosity, anger, pain, or guilt and open your heart to receive peace, grace, healing, and freedom from every emotion that’s imprisoned you.
The act of forgiveness is the ministry of Jesus. It is the foundation, and cornerstone of the Gospel. It is also found in your heart despite the difficulties, challenges, and disappointments you face in life. You are set free. Don’t let another hour, day, week, month, or year go by. Make the decision to forgive today.
“And whenever you stand to pray, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.Mark 11:25
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“The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakens morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.”Isaiah 50:4
Do you feel like when you take time out to rest, you feel like you’re wasting time? Your mind rushes. You may feel a bit of guilt mixed with a little hesitation?
Everyone needs to take a break to enjoy the simplicity of life. With so much to do in your daily schedule, taking time out can cause anxiety in itself. You may feel restless: tempted to reach for the cell phone to follow up on a project, text a friend, or check your email.
In today’s complex lifestyle, it is very easy to get caught up in constant motion. Even if you decide to unwind, you find your mind wandering, thinking, planning, solving, and even worrying about your next task or responsibility.
The pleasure of rest is lacking or even non-existent in today’s society. Most people do not even acknowledge Sundays as a day of rest anymore. It’s just one more day to squeeze some type of activity or work into their schedule, whether it’s shopping, cleaning, fixing, or some other project that needs to get done. Much like a foreign language, you simply do not understand the importance when your battery needs to be recharged. The whole concept is unimaginable, unrealistic, or unthinkable.
You may be juggling a long commute to work, looking for a job, taking care of kids, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, and buying groceries. The list goes on and on. The challenge is not in doing but in the delegating. You must learn to free up some time for yourself. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary.
Your body will speak to you when you need to rest, but we must also listen to the signs and act accordingly. The pressure and demands of life can cause severe health issues down the road if you are not diligent in learning how to treat yourself with care.
When you take a break from the complexities of life, you gain productivity. You’re refreshed with a sense of energy and clarity. Simplicity is bliss. You may gain a new perspective, get a new idea, and even solve a problem.
You may feel like you’re missing out on something at first, but actually you’re taking back your life and regaining control and order. When you are rested, you perform better. You are also less irritated and handle problems with a clear head.
I’m reminded of the Bible story of Mary and Martha. One woman, Martha, worked hard for Jesus while he visited their home. While the other, Mary, rested at his feet and listened to him teach. Martha got upset that her sister offered no help. However, Jesus acknowledged Mary who rested. “Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Taking a break is not a lazy or a bad thing, as long as there’s balance in your life. Spend time alone. Get enough sleep at night. Meditate. Watch birds or clouds. Sit in silence. Do nothing (not even think). It’s a challenge, I’m sure; but it will definitely recharge your spirit, especially if you make it a daily or weekly habit.
“And on the seventh day God ended His work which he made and he rested on the seventh day from all his work he has made.” Gen 2:2
“I am the way, the truth and the life, nobody can get to heaven but through me.” John 14:6
The divinity of the Lord is holy, pure, and righteous. He is omnipotent and all-knowing. We will never be able to grasp the full knowledge and understanding of his love and power. However, we can receive His love and power by His Spirit through faith.
Jesus was sent into the world to save the world not to condemn it, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17-21
You cannot work yourself into heaven. If that was the case, Jesus would not have been nailed to the cross. His death would have meant nothing if we just had to be good and do well (with the possibility to still go to heaven). Eternity is not a gamble. It should not be left to chance or luck.
Jesus carried the weight of sin and He is the intersection between God and man. It is the T-junction between holiness and sin. Jesus came to stand in the gap to pay the debts of sin. He joined us together to reconcile us with the Lord.
Through His sacrifice, commitment and divine purpose to bear the burden for our sins, we receive the gift of salvation and eternal life. The infinite life that we receive by faith is an exact replica of the power of the resurrection: Dead to sin through the transformation of the Holy Spirit.
You must first accept Him as your Lord and Savior and repent for your sins. You will no longer want to please your flesh, but instead, please God. You will gain wisdom, discernment, spiritual consciousness, and awareness which is sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
The power of the Holy Spirit brings deliverance and real transformation in your life. If you’ve never experienced this before, you will need to develop trust, obedience, patience, and endurance. You will be molded and shaped through experiences. It’s not an overnight process. It happens gradually. It happens through the gentle touch of the Spirit of God.
Do not let shame, guilt, embarrassment or condemnation stand in the way of your choice. Do not let people influence your decision. You are ultimately responsible for your salvation. Your friends, family, and associates will not be there when you leave this world. You came into the world by yourself (with the help of your mother) and you will leave by yourself, so their opinions do not matter. When you experience a tug in your heart you should follow through in obedience.
“Do not quench the Holy Spirit.” I Thess 5:19
Jesus was the only man who was perfect. He suffered pain, humiliation, isolation, temptation persecution, and murder. He was innocent and blameless, yet He was accused and convicted. We will never be perfect, but we have dominion and authority and can walk just as Jesus did.
When you look to the cross, it demonstrates strength, endurance, courage, and victory. When you are aware of the power of Christ, nothing will be impossible to overcome. Luke 1:37, Mark 10:27
“I can do all things in Christ which strengthens me.” Phil 4:13
Those same characteristics are within you. “And God said, “Let us make man in our image; after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and overall the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”Genesis 1:26-27
You must pick up your own cross in this life. Matt 16:24 No one can escape this process; no matter who you are.
Whatever is dead in your life, ask for the power of the Lord to breathe upon your life to resurrect all that is lifeless.
The word of God is life to your bones. The word of God is spiritual food to keep you nourished and spiritually strong. It’s the meat and substance to uplift and empower you.
“For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.” I Thess 5:9-10