The Ultimate Betrayal

 

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At one time of another, all of us has experienced some form of betrayal. Betrayal comes in so many forms: Gossip, cheating, lying, and treason to name a few. Whether it was a spouse, friend, co-worker or family member, the pain can run so deep that it may seem you will never heal again.

The ultimate betrayal was found in the life of Jesus Christ. There are several accounts of betrayal he experienced from the people closest to him; to the absolute stranger who despised him. He was persecuted, betrayed, mocked and murdered all for the sake of His ultimate purpose and sacrifice to die for our sins and to save the lost.

What should our reaction be when faced with betrayal? We should look to Jesus as the model of forgiveness. One example was in Luke 22:34. “And he said, I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny thou that knows me.

You may have experienced this situation at one time or another.  You spot someone in a room or familiar place that you know. You could be at the grocery store, shopping mall or social event and someone you know sees you across the room but instead of a smile or wave, they just turn their head like they don’t even know you.  This is just a minor example of how you may feel when someone doesn’t acknowledge your presence for whatever reason. Either way, it doesn’t feel good. Can you imagine how Jesus felt? The one closest to him denied him three times! There is nothing worse than a two-faced person. You may also question your relationship with that person even if they are only a co-worker, neighbor or an acquaintance. It’s a breach of faith in hopes of building a friendship or business relationship.

Another prime example was in Luke 22:48. “But, Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrays thou the Son of Man with a kiss?” Flattery is often buried under deceit. Sometimes the sweetest person is disguised as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You shouldn’t be suspicious of every kind and loving gesture but action speaks louder than words. As the saying goes, “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”

The ultimate betrayal was in Mark 10:33-34. “Behold, we go to Jerusalem and the Son of Man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and unto the scribes; and they should condemn him to death and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him and the third day he shall rise again.

Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins out of his love and forgiveness. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.John 3: 16-21

There is only one account in the Bible that I’m aware of that God does not forgive. In Mark 3:29 it states, “But he who blasphemes or mocks against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.”

Forgiveness is not easy. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to forgive yourself. It is also a life-long process. The act of forgiveness releases us from the negative emotions that hold us in bondage to the person who hurt us. However, if you happen to be on the other side of forgiveness, a sincere apology is the least you can give to the person you hurt. Empathy, patience, and understanding will have to be worked through in each issue of any relationship.

Forgiveness is not something that can be taught. It is the most difficult thing to overcome in the flesh. Memories play over and over in your mind which makes it hard to let go. However, the quicker you can let go of the pain, the faster you can move on. You may never forget, but you can forgive.

The best thing you can do is to acknowledge your pain, accept what you’ve experienced and walk in patience because it takes time depending on the level of deception attached to the pain. It’s much like the grieving process of a lost loved one.

Forgiveness also doesn’t mean you have to subject yourself to the same trifling people, situations or circumstances. It means you can release the animosity, anger, pain or guilt and open your heart to receive peace, grace, healing and freedom from every emotion that’s imprisoned you.

The act of forgiveness is the ministry of Jesus. It is the foundation, and cornerstone of the Gospel. It is also found in your heart despite the difficulties, challenges, and disappointments you face in life. You are set free. Don’t let another hour, day, week, month or year go by. Make the decision to forgive today.

“And whenever you stand to pray, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25

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Wings of Freedom

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Photo Credit: laur720.deviantart.com

 

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” Psalm 100:1-2

As we step into 2015, we hold great expectation and goals for the New Year. We anticipate change whether good or bad, but either way we go forward with hope or anxiety entering into the unknown.

As we confess our resolutions, plans and goals, we may feel overwhelmed, yet hopeful of what is to come. However, we often put a time limit on success. When we don’t meet those expectations, we experience disappoint and we feel like a failure.

We live in a time-based society. We are consumed by hectic schedules and unrealistic demands. The Lord is not limited to time. He orchestrates our lives according to His intricate plan for our lives. He plants the right connections, family, friends, enemies, challenges, obstacles, struggles and experiences in our lives for a purpose. Some people are just for a season while others are rooted in our lives for longevity. “Each experience is not a result of luck or coincidence. It is the result of His divine plan. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11.

The ups, as well as the downs, are part of our development and growth process. It doesn’t take much to praise God in the easy times. However, when we are locked into bondage, it is hard to trust, praise, read the Bible and rest in the Lord.

We all have different prisons: A failed marriage, a friend or family member who has committed suicide or has died in a tragic accident, depression, drugs or alcohol addictions, poverty, job loss, a natural disaster aftermath or terminal illness. We struggle with our identities:  Low confidence, self-esteem issues, jealousy, competitiveness, egos and status. We may even be in a good place in life, but still feel like we can’t breathe; stuck in routine and trapped in mediocrity.

All of our life issues sends us on an emotional rollercoaster ride that is rooted in fear, anxieties, abuse, torment, confusion, isolation, procrastination, temptation, sadness and discouragement.

When we have negative feelings and experiences, it sucks our energy dry. We are stagnate and idle. We are unable to focus or can’t seem to move forward.

The best thing to do when you have moments of despair is to praise the Lord no matter how hard it may be. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true.

However, if you are dealing with serious issues such as a chemical substance or physical, verbal, emotional or sexual abuse, you will need to seek rehab and/or counseling immediately.

All throughout the Bible, music is emphasized. The whole chapter of Psalms exhorts the Lord. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people. It is the best way to get God’s attention. This is a form of worship and communication with God that builds relationship not only in the good times but in the worst of times.

Satan’s desire is to shut our mouth in prayer and worship. His whole goal is to steal our joy, hope, faith and truth. He wars with us to establish lies into our minds and hearts. However, where God is present the devil can’t reside. Where there is light, darkness is obliterated.

Do you ever notice when you listen to music you start to feel better when you’re down? Music speaks to our soul. It is powerful force. It stirs up emotions. When we listen to worship music it lifts our spirit. It encourages and inspires us. It gives us hope to go on. When you sing to the Lord, you open your heart to Him. You rejoice in his love, grace and mercy. Even through pain, you begin the healing process.

It’s not about how we feel inside when we are singing or listening to music, but it’s because of who God is that makes worship so special and powerful. When you magnify Him, your problems become smaller and you enlarge His territory to work in your life. Your focus in now on the solution and not the problem.

Whatever trouble or prison you may be in, open your mouth and shout unto the Lord for He is worthy to be praised. “Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.” Psalm 95:2

We are transformed by His power. He has kept us under the safety of His wings. We are released from whatever is holding us back once we renew our minds and align our thoughts with God’s thoughts. This is a season of action and redemption. Accept no limitations as we move forward in faith with high expectation in this New Year.

In 2015, receive God’s promises and blessings for you and your family.

Singing praises to the King, we are set free, in Jesus Name.

“And at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundation of the prison were shaken and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bands were loosed.” Acts 16:25-26.

“Thou has turned my mourning into dancing thou has put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.” Psalm 30:11

The Act of Forgiveness

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“Let all bitterness, indignation, wrath, resentment, quarreling and slander be banished from you. Esphesians 4:31

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do when someone has hurt or mistreated you. Many people spend years being angry, resentful or even revengeful. Depending on how deep the pain or experience, it may take years to recover and release emotional, mental or psychological abuse.

Just because you forgive someone, does not mean you have to keep them close to you. I remember watching the Oprah Winfrey show years ago and she stated, “Once someone shows you their true colors the first time, believe them.” I thought that was a very powerful statement which I carry with me through life.

True character will eventually be exposed. People may try to mask their negative behaviors or attitudes, but it will eventually be revealed. If you don’t like the way someone treats you, you have a choice to remove yourself. You should also be cautious about who you choose to be in your circle. Negative attitudes and behaviors are contagious. Just like the saying goes, “Birds of a feather, flock together.” However, sometimes it is unavoidable to escape a negative person or environment. But, just because someone has done you wrong, does not justify treating them or others the same way. You are bigger than that situation or person.

Forgiveness is a process of letting go. It is by no means easy. It may even take years to overcome. Forgiveness may start in the mind, but it has to end in the heart. You can tell yourself that you forgive someone, but when you see them again or have to deal with them, negative emotions flair up. You truly know you have forgiven them when you can have peace in your heart, spirit and mind even if you never see them again.

When you live with unforgiveness, you are bound like a prisoner. Your emotions are locked up which can eventually lead to health problems and even terminal illnesses. Conditions of the heart is a real and serious thing. It can eventually destroy an individual, a marriage, family, a friendship, a work relationship or a community.

Jesus was the ultimate example of forgiveness. After being mocked and beaten, He hung on the cross and he said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

Jesus’s whole ministry is about love and forgiveness. Most people in the world feels that forgiveness is a sign of weakness. However, it is a true sign of strength. It takes more maturity, courage, wisdom, strength and power to forgive.

If Jesus can forgive us for all the things we continue to do on a continuous basis and we “as His children” are heirs to the kingdom, we have the ability and the power to forgive others. “He (Jesus) who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” I John 4:4
When you forgive, you are set free. And, “Who the Son sets free, is free indeed.”

“Judge not and you shall not be judged, condemn not and you shall not be condemned, forgive and you shall be forgiven”

Luke 6:37