No one likes to talk about betrayal. It’s awful. It’s awful to betray someone and regret what happened later, and it’s even more awful to be betrayed. Many times there is forgiveness (Jesus died for the sins of Judas as much as he died for mine), but it’s hard, after realizing the consequences of your actions, to forgive yourself. The solution is obvious: never harm anyone. If you never harm anyone through word or deed, then hopefully you never have anything to regret or forgive yourself for. Just as obvious though is the fact that it doesn’t mean it’s possible or easy to do so.
The story of the last supper is heartbreaking. Jesus and his disciples break bread together and have a significant time of sharing and in the next moment, one of his followers walks away from that table and forsakes him. I can’t fathom what was going through the mind of Judas when he thought it would be beneficial or profitable to him to sell Jesus out. It seems unthinkable…how could I possibly relate?
Well, I may not be as deliberate as Judas when I fail in my friendships, but I certainly can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve had an awesome afternoon with someone, and then later made an offhand comment or remark and wounded some of those I hold most dear. I try to make a point of not saying anything that would cause someone to feel badly, but sometimes it happens before I have time to think. One of my favorite passages in the Bible (because I need to hear it so often) is Ephesians 4:29-32: “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers…Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another…even as God in Christ forgave you.”
I never set out with the intention to do harm, and I hope I haven’t gone to the level of betraying one of my closest friends, but I have certainly hurt many close to me through careless words and can certainly relate to the regret that Judas felt after harming his friend. I have spent a lot of time this Lenten season learning to take a step back, to slow down, to listen first, and then speak when needed. I pray that I can carry this lesson with me throughout the rest of the year, and hopefully avoid some heavy hearts in the process.