Learn how Jesus' unconditional love and forgiveness can transform our perspective on betrayal and heal our relationships.
John 13:18-20 — Dealing with Betrayal — Aneel Aranha
Hello and welcome to the Bite-Sized Gospel. Today we will reflect yet again on John 13:18-20. Listen.
“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’
“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
It’s been a while since I started a reflection with a question so let me ask you one today. I know that all of you have had relationships with people over the years, not necessarily romantic. I also know that while most of them have been good (I hope), some have ended terribly. Trust has been shattered, confidences have been betrayed, hearts have been broken. Yes? Now here is the question: if you knew that a particular person was going to hurt you, would you still have allowed him (or her) into your life?
I thought about this when I read today’s passage. Jesus knew from the beginning what Judas was going to do, yet he allowed him to come into his inner circle. He lived with him, ate with him, taught him, loved him. He knew what Peter was going to do too, as well as the other apostles. We tend to fixate on Peter and Judas as two men who let down Jesus, but the others weren’t too brave either. James and John fled when Jesus was arrested (see Matthew 26:56). Yet, he called them all his friends (see John 15:15). How did he do it?
Because he was pure love. And, as Scripture says, “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). I want us to understand this because if we are to love like Jesus does, then we have to learn how love works. Imagine holding an object in your hand (like, perhaps a remote control). I can see it clearly. But, if I put a handkerchief over it, I don’t see it anymore. It is not as if the remote disappears; it is still there, but I have concealed it under the kerchief.
It’s the same with the sins of others. Love is the equivalent of the kerchief. I place it over the persons sins, CHOOSING not to see them. Let me explain how this works practically. I have been married for close to 36 years now. And for the most part, especially before I came back to Christ, I have been a terrible husband. Yet, whenever I told my wife that, she would say, “That’s what you say, but I see only somebody wonderful. I can’t even remember the bad things you did.”
I used to marvel at that, thinking God had given her a special grace, but as I have drawn near to Jesus over the years, I have realized this automatically happens when you are close to him. You don’t remember the bad things people do. And why should you? Think about your friendships. Haven’t you had some wonderful moments together? Yet, one little thing happens, and you focus on that instead of the hundreds of good times you shared earlier. So, don’t! Remember the good times, and very soon you won’t even remember the bad.
And then, you will be able to say, “I still love you”. And, even though the person who hurt you may not understand how you possibly can, you know it’s because it’s how Jesus did it.
God bless you.