I recently read a series of articles by George K. Simon on the “Aftermath of Toxic Relationships.” I also had a deep and interesting conversation with a very compassionate friend about how those who hurt us . . . are often more hurt themselves than we can imagine. People are broken. We ALL are broken, really. And, as I say often, there is much beauty in brokeness. Or, at least, there is beauty in the brokeness of a believer in Christ. If a believer admits his or her brokeness and yet desires to obey God, he or she will be working toward wholeness. That kernel of wheat that has fallen to the ground will spill out . . . and bear fruit in that brokeness. And restoration and redemption will set in. It won’t be pretty . . . but it is necessary.
However, there are those who are broken who are never restored. There are those who betray us who never (or do not, yet) turn to Christ, repent and receive the blessing of humility and grace. Judas Iscariot was (obviously) one of those people. Surely, he was remorseful. He was sorry. But, he did not choose to then turn around and “feed His lambs” like Peter did. And, do you know what I find interesting? It hurt Jesus’ heart. After Jesus washed the disciples feet, Scripture says this:
After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’ John 13:21
This intrigues me to no end. We know that Jesus wept when Lazarus died. All sorts of commentators love to explain away that emotion in a super holy way . . . explaining Jesus more in more-than-necessary ways because . . . well, because it almost seems as though emotion is weakness . . . tears are weakness . . . right? So, out of fear that Jesus will not fit in our box, otherwise, we say things like: “Jesus was sad over their lack of faith”. Whaaaa . . . ? I’m sorry. Is Jesus not allowed to just be sad? ‘Cause it is sad when someone dies and people are crying at your feet. What about when Jesus was sorrowful because He was about to die for the sins of the world? We can explain that away. He seems more fully God here and less fully man because of the undertaking before Him. But, John 13:21 might be a little more difficult. Sure, some could certainly say that Jesus was sad over the hypocrisy of Judas. That is maddening. But, the Bible doesn’t really say that. It says Jesus is troubled . . . he was troubled in spirit; in his soul, which shows him to be truly and really man, and to have a fully human soul . . . like ours. He shares in our emotion and in our passions. And, you know what else? Jesus knew what was going to happen to Judas. He knew the man’s fate. Repentance was not on its way. Time was not going to heal Judas. No amount of compassion on anyone’s part was going to win Judas back to the Lord. It was over for this man. And it was deeply troubling to our Savior.
We are betrayed. It is not “all in our head”. We are not paranoid. An abusive spouse betrays his wife over and over. Perhaps family has, as well. We are allowed to be “deeply troubled” in our spirits. Our sinless Messiah was. It hurts to be betrayed by a friend . . . or by our inner circle . . . by someone we have loved, served, shared meals with . . . by someone we have given ourselves to over and over. Feel it; grieve it. And then move on. But, for heaven’s sake . . . don’t let anyone mute your pain by telling you that you must just love that person through it. Sometimes you can’t. Jesus knew this. We would be wise to know it, too.