What to do with Betrayal…

On Sunday we briefly talked about what to do when we are betrayed, through following the example of Jesus. Jesus, as he is being nailed to the cross says, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. From this we realized three things. First, was that hurt people end up hurting people. We also talked about how Jesus doesn’t see his betrayers as enemies, but as broken people needing forgiveness. And lastly, that Jesus takes his betrayal to God, praying to the Father for their forgiveness.

The main point we ended on was that if we want to deal with our betrayal in the way of Jesus, we need to be like him. We need to take our betrayal to God. To give up our desire for justice our way, and give it over to him.

By this I don’t mean that we don’t create good boundaries, that we forget what happened, or that things go back to the way they were. Broken trust creates consequences. What I am saying is that the personal hurt that happens to us needs to be dealt with in a Jesus-like way. And the way Jesus deals with his betrayal and hurt isn’t to see those who betrayed him as enemies; but instead to see them as broken people needing forgiveness. Jesus also chooses to forgive, and pray for their forgiveness. In essence, he takes his betrayal and he leaves it with God.

I believe this is what we are called to do.

The problem is I often don’t want to. I want to hold on to my betrayal, bitterness, and judgement. I don’t want to give it up. My hurt starts to feel normal, justified, and right. And sometimes it is so hard to give over those deep betrayals. We feel we need to hold onto them and to fight for justice. I’m not saying those feelings aren’t right. What I am saying is that I have stronger feelings when I look at Jesus. When I see him, I want to be like him more than I want to hold onto my hurt. I want to be like him more than I want to hold onto being right, or my version of justice.

So I’ve decided to give up my hurts, betrayals, and give them over to God. I am in no way saying it’s easy; I’m just saying it’s Jesus-like. And that’s enough for me. What about you?

Blessing those who betray us…

This upcoming Sunday we are going to be exploring a difficult topic: blessing those who betray us.

This is a tough topic because it is so hard to bless, and release people who have hurt us. It is difficult to do because we want justice, we don’t want the hurt to be overlooked, and we don’t want to pretend that the hurt hasn’t happened. This is all true. We can’t deny the hurt, or diminish its impact. But yet holding onto betrayal can lead to bitterness, and imprisonment.

So how do we let go of hurt? How do we bless those who betray us?

This is what we are going to seek to discover on Sunday, from Jesus. So we are going to look at Jesus’ famous words, “Forgive them for they know not what they do”. If we are his followers, we need to follow in offering his freedom and forgiveness.

  • But what enables Jesus to bless his betrayers?
  • What gives Jesus the ability to ask for his crucifiers forgiveness?
  • How does he do this and how might we follow him in this?

So this is what we’re looking at. But what do you think? What enables Jesus to speak these amazing words as he is about to be killed? How does he do this and how might we do this?

I think this is worth some time, thought, and discussion. Because blessing our betrayers is so hard, but Jesus does it. And if he does it, I want to do it too. The question is how? So what do you think? How do you bless those who betray us?

Community Intervention ~ Betrayal Prevention

Last Sunday we explored how a community can prevent betrayal. You can download the sermon here.

What we discovered is that if we walk with people we can stop people from “walking out into the darkness” alone. That’s what happens to Judas. He is with his friends, brothers, and community and he walks out into the darkness under suspicious circumstances with no one inquiring about him. No one cared enough to stop Judas, to ask how he was doing, or to ask where he was going. The community let him walk out into the darkness alone.

But we can learn from the disciples’ mistakes.We can care. We can connect. We can stop people from walking into darkness, sin, and betrayal. But how? By always walking with them. If someone is walking out into the dark, you can walk with them bringing the light and love of Jesus with you. If a community walks together then no one will walk alone. That reality can change the course and direction of someone’s life.

On Sunday we landed on three ways you can walk deeply with others. You can give people your time, your full attention, and space. You can give people time to check in, to catch up, and to actually have a conversation. Deep conversations can’t happen over Facebook, or on route to get coffee after church. Give some time for someone to open up.

Then also give them your full attention. So often when we are in conversations with people we are just waiting for our turn to talk. Turn that around. Wait for your turn to listen. Give the other person your full attention, not figuring out your next question, when you can jump in, or what you can say. Make them the focus.

And lastly, give them some space to talk and to go deeper. So ask some difficult but important questions. Ask how they are truly doing. Give them space and an opportunity to talk to you. They might not choose to, but at least they will know you cared enough to ask.

So this week ~ walk deeply with those around you. Make a decision to never let a friend walk out into the darkness alone; and give people your time, attention, and space. Take your responsibility to your community and friends seriously. Never let anyone walk into the darkness alone, by making a commitment to walk with them wherever they may go…

A Preventable Betrayal

Can a community prevent betrayal?

Think about that for a moment. Can a group of people actually stop betrayal, sin, and disconnection?

And if its possible to do…how do you practically do it?

This is the question we are going to really look at on Sunday. We want to look at how to create a community that doesn’t allow people to slip through the cracks, to walk out into darkness, and to betray each other.

Before I give you my thoughts and suggestions: what about you?

What do you think is important for a community, or group of people to do to prevent betrayal? What types of actions would a community take to promote life, and prevent breakdown of relationships? And more importantly if you have ideas are you actively practicing them in your community?

Because ideals and ideas are great, but tangible action and “doing” is best.

So how can you start to contribute to your community so that it prevents betrayal and breakdown, and promotes life and love?

Never Go It Alone ~ Peter vs Judas

On Sunday we landed on one main difference between Judas and Peter. They both betrayed Jesus. They both were attacked by Satan. They both felt deep remorse for their mistake. They both sought to confess it and make it right. But one went to Jesus, the other went to people who didn’t care. Jesus and Peter had a conversation, a connection, and ultimately a confession. Jesus and Judas never had that. Judas went to the religious leaders who simply heaped on the guilt, shame, and pain for Judas. He left feeling more alone than ever. Peter left Jesus’ presence with a purpose.

Sometimes the difference between having a mistake, betrayal, or failure being something that lasts, and something that is overcome is the difference between going to Jesus and going it alone.

Judas was left to deal with his betrayal on his own and he couldn’t do it.

Peter dealt with his with Jesus.

I think we can learn from this. Confession can heal the soul. Confession brings someone else in, so we aren’t going through it alone. Confession can bring life to a broken area because we are asking for help. This is the big difference between the path of life, and death; the path of Peter and the path of Judas.

So today my challenge is simple. If you have been holding onto something, trying to go it alone, dealing with it isolated and by yourself, bring someone else in. Confess what’s going on to Jesus. Confess it to a true friend, who isn’t interested in the details, but is interested in you. Peter makes it through because he walks with others. And so can you…

Judas vs Peter

Last Sunday we explored Jesus’ response to our betrayal. You can listen to the sermon here. This Sunday we are doing something a bit different. We are going to compare Peter and Judas. At first glance they might seem very different people. I mean, Judas we hate, and Peter we try to emulate.

But when you dig into the biblical text you see how similar they both were. They both betray Jesus deeply. They both are attacked by Satan. They both seek to make amends for their mistake. But one only finds guilt, shame, and death, while the other finds forgiveness, grace, and life.

The Didache an ancient Christian text says this: “There are two ways, one of life and one of death; but a great difference between the two ways.”

So this Sunday we are going to be looking at the differences between these two ways, and how we might find forgiveness, grace, and life. The real question we’ll be exploring is: What do you do when you betray someone? How do you respond when you realize you are guilty of betraying all that you hold dear?

As we’ll find out, there is one path that leads to life, and one path that leads to the darkness…

But what do you think? If you betrayed someone what would you do?

Jesus’ Response to Betrayal

This past Sunday we talked about how Jesus responds to Judas and his betrayal. From this response we also can see how Jesus responds to us.

Even though I prepared and preached the sermon, Jesus’ response to betrayal still stops me. It arrests me, grabs me, and holds my attention. In my mind I see Judas walking up to Jesus – giving him a kiss. This moment is intimate and close, they are friends, brothers, and comrades. And Jesus knows he is betrayed. He knows he is being handed over for pain, mockery, alienation, abuse, and crucifixion. And he turns to Judas and says “my friend”. (Matthew 26:50)

My friend…

My friend…

But he’s not your friend Jesus. He is the catalyst for your death. He is the one who gives you over. Friends don’t betray friends. He’s not a friend Jesus…

But Jesus still says “My friend”.

This encounter reveals why I follow Jesus. Because Jesus, at his core, is grace and love. Because Jesus, at his core, responds in ways I could only hope to. Because Jesus, not only turns to Judas and says my friend, but says the same to us.

There is so often times in my life when I betray Jesus. I know I am not his friend. I know I am his enemy. I know I don’t deserve him. And yet he still turns to me and says “my friend”. Throughout history that has been God’s response to betrayal. He gives grace, he gives another chance, he looks at you, me, and Judas and says “my friend”.

So today if you are feeling far from God. If you have betrayed him. If you haven’t spoke to him in a long time. Just know his first words to you are…my friend…

Welcome to Lent…

This Sunday we’re diving into Lent. We are going to be starting a 4 week sermon series examining betrayal. I know it sounds dark, and maybe it is, but the truth is that in our lives we have all experienced it, in some way, at some time. Maybe we’ve been betrayed. Maybe we’ve betrayed someone. Maybe we’ve stood by and let a betrayal happen. The question is not only how should we respond, but how does Jesus respond to betrayal? How does he respond to us?

So that’s what I want to explore over the next few weeks. Discovering how we can heal after betrayal, how Jesus responds to it, how we as a community can prevent it, and how you can bless those who betray you. Deep stuff, but important I think as well. Not all of life is easy, and in Lent we reflect on that reality. Sometimes the deep and difficult stuff is the most worthwhile stuff to actually work through. That’s what Lent is about: slowing down, examining yourself, and reflecting on Jesus’ sacrifice. So that’s where we’re going on Sunday.

The beauty is that when we honestly open up space to discuss the deep stuff of our life, healing can happen. So this Sunday we begin to discover how we can find light in the midst of the dark, because that’s what the life of faith is about…

Hope you can join us.