How could he call someone “friend” that betrayed him so harshly?
But He did.
In Matthew 26:50 (TPT) Jesus says, “My beloved friend, is this why you’ve come?” He was speaking to Judas. The guy who betrayed him that fateful night for a little bit of money. If you read earlier in the text, it makes it clear that Jesus KNEW Judas was betraying him, yet he still sat down and had the holiday dinner with him.
Jesus had spent the last three years with Judas. He was one of his closest friends. They traveled together. They spent late nights and early mornings together. They had seen good times and grief filled times. They knew each other’s families, and had been with each other through all of life’s moments. Judas had shown signs that his heart wasn’t in the right place. He had mishandled money from time to time, and was harsh toward others.
I imagine that he did things he didn’t think he was capable of.
And I believe Jesus saw all of this. He knew it all, but he never stopped loving him, and He never stopped accepting him.
That person who mistreated you, who betrayed you, who lied about you, who exposed you, who abused you, who hurt you…Jesus saw it all. Maybe they walked away, and left you standing in your pain. Maybe you walked away because you couldn’t take the hurt anymore.
How is your heart dear one? Have you forgiven your betrayer? Can you call them “beloved friend?” Can you look back on everything and choose forgiveness in your heart? Are you able to release them and bless them? Can you love them even from afar?
I’m going to be really honest with you and tell you that Jesus was able to do this instantly, but for us there is usually a process involved. We go through the grief of it all. The crushing of it all. The sorrow, the hurt, the pain. The “It isn’t fair!! After all I did for them…” phase. We grapple with the situation, and do our best to manage it. We try to clean up the mess of it all, and how difficult that can be when the betrayer brings others into it with them! (Judas came with a whole mob of people!!)
The only way to handle this type of thing well is to manage our own heart. We don’t control the other person or their process through the situation AT ALL. The best thing we can do is put them in God’s hands and clean our own heart up, choosing forgiveness each day.
If this is a fresh wound in your life, I am so sorry. I know it can feel so painful to even say the words, “I forgive them,” but there is no better way to handle it. Healing and freedom will come for your heart as you walk out the forgiveness road.
When my heart hurts so bad over situations with others in my life, I picture Jesus’ face that night. I picture how he must have looked at Judas with love and compassion in his eyes and called him “friend.” I imagine that Jesus didn’t even notice the mob as he spoke with Judas. It was just the two of them in the importance of that moment. I can feel that Jesus chose to align himself with love even in one of the worst moments of his life.
I pray that I always do the same. That I always choose the forgiveness road, looking through the eyes of Jesus, blessing and honoring those who mistreat me. Afterall, I relate to Judas. My sins are no better than his, and yet Jesus has seen me at my worst, and still chosen to love me. He reached down into my hell…in the middle of my ugliness and pain, and chose me anyway. What a remarkable friend.