Most contemporary Protestant churches today skip Lent altogether and jump in for the Easter celebration. This is fine as there is nothing written that says you have to reinact this all every spring – preachers should really be preaching the cross twelve months a year. I want to devote a few posts these next few weeks to the ugly side of Easter – the betrayal, the blood, etc. Buckle up.
Some good stuff for those who’ve known betrayal…
Here we are in Easter season and I had the thought to watch the Passion of the Christ again last night. Instead I just decided to read it right out of the Bible. Judas popped off the page at me and the whole pain of betrayal thing. Probably because I had read this earlier in the day:
“Embedded somewhere, in each act of betrayal, is the purpose of God waiting to be discovered.” Garris Elkins
My two sons (17, 15) are excited to follow my steps into ministry for which I’m grateful, but recently my daughter (13) announced she wanted nothing to do with it. Not that she wants nothing to do with God, far from it. Her comment was in specifically in reference to ministry – and hearing her explain why made me want to send a couple of “thank you” cards to a few people who’ve “kissed” me as Judas did Jesus. I don’t know how to explain or justify to her how it is people you try to bless and help so viciously turn on you and even orchestrate an aggressive and unbridled but Scripturally-forbidden slander campaign with the hope of ruining you. It’s nothing short of evil. Every Christian leader deals with it, though those on the front lines more than the rest.
The danger for the betrayed is to succumb to the spirit of vengeance and seek your own vindication. Again to quote Elkins, “the spirit of vengeance wants to attach itself to betrayal and lure you into the betrayer’s dark place. It’s the strong desire to see the betrayer punished. Hell wants to help you tailor a plan to punish your betrayer. Darkness wants to lure you into the hardness of heart where an unwillingness to forgive exists. You don’t have to go there.”
Twice the Apostle Paul mentioned how he had to “turn [someone] back over to Satan.” Wow. I’ve never been able to do that. But I have prayed, “Lord, I’m hurting too much to deal with this in a Godly way, I release them to you. If you want to show them mercy – praise be your Name. If you decide to discipline and deal with them harshly, I can certainly understand.”
My secret over the years is to stay in a place of prayer and pray Psalm 64. There have been seasons where Kristen and I have done this daily for months on end.
Elkins has this to say to the betrayer, “know the sin of betrayal plans to take you somewhere. For Judas, John 13:30 tells us that betrayal took him “out into the night.” Betrayal repositions you into a dark place. The only way back into a lighted place is through confession and repentance.”