Speaking Of Life 1020 | Betrayal
The English poet and painter, William Blake, once said, “It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”
I imagine most of you would agree with Blake. The wounds of betrayal run deep and are difficult to heal. History doesn’t forget those who played the role of betrayer. To call someone a “Benedict Arnold” or to say “And you, Brutus?” is to draw from this deep well of betrayal etched in our history books. The betrayed have long memories.
You may have your own memories of betrayal. A friend, a lover, or that family member who was labeled, “the black sheep.” Betrayal only comes by the hands of those we are holding. We are betrayed by those to whom we belong.
But there is one betrayal we would like to forget. The one carried out by our own hands.
Maybe this is why we are so quick to vilify those who betray. It keeps hidden the pain and damage we’ve created by our own betrayals. To avoid being seen we point elsewhere.
And if you want to point to a betrayer who cast a shadow over our own failures of belonging, Judas Iscariot may be our best target. He plays a significant role in the crucifixion and death of Jesus, God’s own son, by betraying him “with a kiss.” In the end, he is remorseful. Unable to bear the shame of his own betrayal, he hangs himself on a tree.
Many may write Judas off as being beyond forgiveness. But we do well to remember that while Judas was hanging on a tree so was Jesus. As we enter the season of Holy Week with Easter on the horizon we are reminded that Jesus went to the cross to save us from our deepest betrayal. Betraying the Father to whom we belong.
Does Jesus remember Judas’ treachery on the cross? Does he remember our betrayals? The author of Hebrews adds a short answer to that question.
“Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:17)
Instead of remembering our betrayal, Jesus remembers our belonging. In this way Jesus re-members us. Jesus is putting us back together, healing us and making us whole. He is bringing us back into relationship with him and his Father in the Spirit. Jesus re-members us back to belonging.
As we journey through Holy Week, may we remember that Jesus walks with us, hand-in-hand, bringing us into the belonging we were always made for — the communion of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
I’m Anthony Mullins, Speaking of Life