Loving our enemies and those who persecute us can be difficult when those adversaries are our friends and family members. While they may not inherently be on our top list of foes to avoid at work or the grocery store, disputes between them and us can get ugly.
Although I’d like to pretend that I get along with everyone 100% of the time, Jesus would frown down on me from Heaven, I am sure. As an independent and stubborn twenty-five-year-old, I am confrontational more than I am passive.
When it comes to problem-solving with my boyfriend, this is great. I ask if we can talk, and generally, the problem is resolved simply through listening to one another. If my mom, boyfriend, or choice friend rubs me the wrong way during “that time of the month,” however, I am all too quick to leap on impulse. The words spew from my mouth like fire, and I am immediately remorseful for my embarrassing and un-Christlike actions.
I’ve tasted that bitterness from others, and I’m ashamed to say that I have given it as well. Painted in red splotches against my face and skin, I’m reminded of my fallenness as a sinful human on this planet.
My heart breaks thinking of the friends who have chosen to forsake me or others at times, or the arguments that were never worth having in the first place. Anxiety reminds me of harsh expressions spoken too soon or critiques of hypocrisy given to those I love that would’ve been better applied to myself, and I weep.
Because even in the disagreements of righteousness and all things holy, Jesus Knew, But Judas Ate Too. And I cannot even begin to fathom that kind of love.
In a moment of natural rage and disappointment, Jesus washed the feet of every man that would soon betray Him. Looking into the eyes of whom would kiss His cheek in return for a few mere pieces of silver, He said this is my body broken for you, and my blood poured out for you that you may live (Matt. 26:26-28). I am confident Jesus’ fully human-God heart felt a twinge of pain knowing the words of the Disciple that would never leave His side would fall short of their actions.
At the end of the day, me being moody or someone not treating me right is never an excuse to not be kind. Sure, it’s good to stand up for yourself and what you believe in, especially regarding the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. However, in matters of simple disagreement, is it worth it to voice your opinion at the cost of your character? Is being right more valuable than showing Jesus to a broken and hurting world?
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person – Col. 4:5-6
Father, forgive me.
Jesus Christ was accused unfairly of blasphemy (to Himself), unrighteously condemned, and sentenced to a criminal’s death on a cross. Yet when all of this happened, the people mocked Him for staying silent. And when He did decide to speak, His words blessed those who persecuted Him.
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. – Matthew 27:39-44, NIV
“Save yourself,” their voices mocked.
“Don’t you realize this is the Son of God?” a small voice inquires.
“He can’t even rescue Himself. How can He save us?” the voices grow.
Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing – Luke 23:34
Surely He was the Son of God,” the centurion’s faith surprised himself as Jesus breathed His last and the Temple curtain was torn – Matthew 27:54
Not once did Jesus forsake God’s mission for Him even when those around Him treated Him like the scum of the earth. Even when He knew His friends and own Father would abandon Him on a cross, He followed through, seeing the cross as a charity to carry rather than a burden to bear.
When Jesus Christ hung from that cross with nail-pierced hands, His heart, mind, and soul endured the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual abandonment that none of us can ever come close to experiencing. He was communicating, I know everything you’ve done and ever will do, but still, I choose you.
So, friends, I think it is time we start living out that Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, but he still fed Him, too. And whether we would admit it in humbleness or not, He knew we would forsake Him time and time again, too, but still chose to break His body and shed His blood so that we may be fully satisfied in communion with Him.
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world. So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give further directions. – 1 Corinthians 11, NIV
Prayer for today:
Lord, today help us remember that you knew every time we would and ever will forsake you, yet you choose us anyways. In your love, allow us to show love to others no matter the cost. Please help us to bear our crosses and examine our hearts that we may be found holy and righteous in your eyes. As we face Judas of our accord, including ourselves, gently remind us that you knew, but Judas ate too. Help us to feed our enemies and those who hurt us with the grace, truth, love, mercy, and forgiveness of your spirit so that through us, they might experience the love of Christ that takes away all sin.
I am Judas, but Jesus fed me, too.