Listen to my sermon this morning on Matthew 26: Overcoming Betrayal.
Recovering from betrayal is one of life’s biggest challenges.
- The affair of a spouse.
- A family member stealing from you.
- A friend sharing your secret with others.
- A loved one calling you bad names.
- Being physically harmed by somebody you love.
- A parent letting you down.
Then you should have died! Died, rather than betray your friends, as we would have done for you! –J. K. Rowling
14 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests 15 and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
Judas betray Jesus for a mere 30 pieces of silver. We do the same. We give up everything for very little. All for not much.
- A destructive behavior gives us an escape from reality
- A sexual affair gives us 30 minutes of pleasure
- A pill makes us feel good for a few hours
- A little bit of money allows us to buy something
- Belittling others may give us a little self-esteem or power
We betray for a lot less than 30 pieces of silver. All for not much.
The Bite of a Lamb
47 And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. 48 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” 49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss. 50 Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.” Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him.
Betrayal happens from those closest to us. Judas betrayed Jesus not with a knife, but a kiss. Ironically, we hurt and are hurt by those we love the most. It is not the bite of the wolf that hurts us. It is the bite of the lamb that really hurts.
It seemed like a good idea at the time
74 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.
Peter in the Greek means rock. Solid. Steady. Foundational. Peter was all those and more. He was the one who stuck with Jesus until the end. Almost. Then he denied Jesus. Three times. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Choosing comfort and security over friendship and faithfulness. The moment Peter denied Jesus, tears ran down his face like rain down a rock. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” 5 Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.
Judas died. We may not experience physical death upon betraying another. But will will experience death.
- Death of a dream.
- Death of a relationship.
- Death of our character and integrity.
- Death of our self-worth.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
How do you want to be defined?
- Hurt or healing?
- Broken or becoming whole?
- Betrayed or beginning again?
1. Don’t return betrayal with a betrayal. A betrayer faces devastating long-term consequences and that is the last thing you need right now.
Romans 12:19 – Revenge belongs to the Lord
Matthew 5:39 – Jesus says turn the other cheek
2. Give yourself time to heal.
Romans 12:12 – Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
3. Start where you are and don’t get frustrated about where you are not.
Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
4. Know that you control your recovery and you can change how you feel.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old has passed away; the new has come.
5. Realize the betrayal was done by an imperfect person and that the betrayal probably has very little to do with you.
Peter and Judas were imperfect. Jesus didn’t deserve betrayal. Their denial and betrayal was about them and not Jesus.
6. Seek the help of others. Don’t take this journey alone.
Galatians 6:2 – Bear each other’s burdens and fulfill the Law of Christ
7. Seek the help of God. God is interested in your recovery and has the power to do something about it.
Luke 4:18 - The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.
8. Pray to let go of the anger and bitterness that is controlling you.
- Broken Healing
- Busted Recovering
- Bitter Whole
- Angry Free
- Resentful Hopeful
9. Embrace the lessons learned.
- Never betray another because you know the pain
- Create environment where betrayal isn’t likely in your future
- Know that if you can overcome betrayal you can do anything
10. Trust again. Distrusting everybody is no way to go through life.
We have to distrust each other. It is our only defense against betrayal. –Tennessee Williams
Not trusting is no way to live. Trusting opens the door to betrayal, but it also opens the door to love and grace.