Twelve Minus One
The day had finally arrived. I was heading to the University of Georgia. My emotions were scattered all over the place like an unfinished puzzle. Joy, doubt and anxiousness were all fighting for center stage.
My parents helped me settle in my dorm. And after we said our goodbyes, I decided to get acquainted with my surroundings. The first person I met was Pamela. She had a big smile, was super friendly and our rooms were only a few doors down from each other.
Right away we realized that we had quite a bit in common and became fast friends. Finding friends at my new home away from home was a big concern over the summer. God was showing off by answering that prayer on the first day.
Whether we admit it or not, we all desire friends... real friends that stand with us in the midst of successes and failures. Quite naturally, we wouldn’t intentionally allow anyone in our inner circle that would harm or betray us. But strangely enough, when Jesus chose the twelve apostles, he included Judas. - Luke 6:12-16
Judas?! Yes ma'am. Judas was hand picked by the Messiah. He was called to be a world changer and at the same time he wrestled with unrighteousness...sound familiar?
Now you might be thinking, since Jesus was a man, he didn't know who Judas really was. Wrong. John 2:23 says that "Jesus knew what was in man." He knew what was in Judas. Sooo...now the question is why? Why would Jesus invite and welcome an enemy to join him in Kingdom work? Why does he allow backstabbers masquerading as friends to waltz into our lives? I don't have all the answers. I wish I did
But, if we allow ourselves to look beyond the pain of betrayal, we might discover a few hidden blessings.
Take a look at what James 1:2-4 says about difficulties - NLT "... when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." I know, that’s a little hard to swallow so, I'll give you a moment to digest it.
We view trouble as something to be avoided. But according to James, resisting trouble means that we are rejecting joy. We're refusing to grow. And, we're in a serious kick boxing match with endurance. Now, I don't mean that you should break out in the happy dance when someone violates your confidence. Instead, remind yourself that God is giving you a special invitation to put his love on display. You have the opportunity to extend the same grace that you've been given and become more like him.
Often times, when we experience hurt we make generalizations. You know, if we have a bad encounter at church, we say “Christians are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites”. Or if our family member, friend or husband is untruthful, we say “you can’t trust anybody”. The truth of the matter is, it’s not everybody. Judas was the only one .... the only apostle that thought Jesus was worth a mere thirty pieces of silver - Matthew 26:15
Your significance isn’t diminished because one person is blind to your value. Don’t give your pain power. Change your focus. Refuse to allow your world view to be distorted by the missteps of one individual, one company or one church.
Bridges not Burdens
Judas' actions produced devasting results. It was an excruciating and humiliating way for our Savior to die. But, it was a part of God’s salvation plan. The chief priests thought they were putting an end to Jesus’s teachings. They had no idea they were helping to spread the good news that has continued for more than two thousand years. betcha they didn’t see that coming
What you’re going through might seem like a heavy burden. But, give it to God. He can use it as a bridge to take you to the places that he has destined for you.
I’ll be honest, I’ve had friendships that crumbled like five day old cornbread. But not all of them. After all of these years, my friendship with Pamela has remained constant. (Hey Pam!)
If you‘re walking through the pain of betrayal take a moment to write down all of your blessings. I pray that you’ll find that the goodness of the Lord is much greater than the betrayal of one.
Your Sister Friend,