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Who Gives Kudos:


   Thursday, April 5, 2012

Today before Tomorrow


                Tomorrow is Good Friday. Tomorrow is Passover, the day Jesus willingly, submitted Himself to being betrayed, beaten, tortured, and then crucified. Jesus knew what tomorrow was. He knew what it would bring. He had set His face toward Jerusalem and toward the cross for months now. Knowing what His tomorrow would look like I can’t imagine what His today felt like. I have only one day to try and compare this to and it is nowhere near a comparison. It is probably even shameful and wrong for me to call it a comparison, but it is the best I can do in trying to even remotely wrap my head around what Jesus went through today.
                I had flown out to visit a friend of mine with the hopes of building on the friendship to become something more. I went out there knowing something was wrong with our friendship, but that maybe some face to face time could bring about some truth and honest and we could get back on the right track. The first few days went fine. Then we had a really good night of dinner and conversation. We connected mentally and there was some real honesty. Some real vulnerability. I felt we had taken a step in the right direction. I was happy.
                Then I found it the next day. A gift from another girl. And what I already knew to be true had finally be confirmed. I knew I had been betrayed. I knew he was going to admit to the betrayal when he got home and I confronted him on it. But that was not for several hours. So what could I do right now? I did the one thing I am really good at doing when I am upset, I cleaned. I cleaned from top to bottom. His entire apartment I cleaned it. I even made him a really nice dinner to eat for when he came home. Then I sat down on the couch and watched the sun go down, and I waited. 
                I don’t know how long I waited. I know the house got dark. When he got home, he ate. I didn’t say anything to him at first. He didn’t say anything either. The apartment was very quiet. I think the silence lasted an hour or so before I finally confronted him. Needless to say the conversation didn’t go well. I unpacked everything he ever gave me, and left them there on the floor of his apartment in the corner so he wouldn’t see them at first. I wanted to hurt him as he had hurt me. Then I left. He drove me to the airport. I was devastated. I felt betrayed down to my very soul. I wanted to be so angry, but the truth was I was so hurt. It hurt so much that I did nothing but cry that entire night and many nights after.
                Thankfully Jesus did not respond as I did. I had only been a Christian for a handful of months, and that isn’t an excuse. But I can look back on that situation and say I did not understand Jesus’ tomorrow, or even Jesus’ today….to treat my friend the way I did. I behaved shamefully. I behaved selfishly. I did not behave lovingly at all. And it may not look that way to a lot of people, and a lot of you might say I did the right thing or that he had he coming to him. Thankfully Jesus doesn’t think nor behave like any of us. The problem is I just gave you a snap shot of the story for a reason. You don’t know everything that was going on in our relationship.
                Even so I can’t think of the number of times I have betrayed Jesus. I know I have denied Him countless time. I have cheated on Him with other idols. I have put stupid things before Him. I have cussed Him out. I have belittled His words and everything He has done for me. The things I do to Jesus on a weekly, daily, monthly, yearly, repetitively basis makes what this man did to me seem like nothing. And Jesus still went to the cross for me. Jesus still took every lash from the scourge for me. He took every blow from a balled fist for me.
                Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray Him for thirty silver to have Him murdered. He still washed Judas’ feet. Jesus still had a meal with Judas. He still spoke with Judas all day. He was still a friend to Judas up until the very end. Even after Judas betrayed Him, Jesus didn’t lash out at him. My friend betrayed me to a much lesser degree, and I couldn’t even share a meal with him. I didn’t even really have a conversation with him. I convicted him. I tore into him. I got very self righteous and condemning. But I didn’t reach out a hand. I didn’t try to help him at all. I didn’t listen to his struggles. I didn’t even think to shine a light into the dark place he was because his darkness had caused me pain. And I was wrong for that. I did my friend a great injustice in that. I wasn’t a friend that day. I put myself first.
                Jesus, thankfully, isn’t like me. And I keep thinking that today. He isn’t like me at all. I wonder if today Jesus savored what little time He had left with Judas. Today would be the last time Jesus would get to spend time with His friend. Jesus would see all His other disciples again, both in this life and in heaven. After today Judas would never again be a part of Jesus’ life. They would never share a conversation. They would never share a meal. They would never laugh over a joke. Knowing what I have learned of Jesus through my study of Scripture I am sure this made my Lord and Savior sad. So I wonder if today Judas got a little extra time, a little extra attention. Not because it would change anything, but because Jesus loved Judas. Judas was His friend. Even though it is hard for my mind to comprehend I think Jesus is going to miss Judas, despite everything.
                And I think about that day for me, and I am humbled and ashamed. Because I stood there on my high horse of self-righteousness spouting off about how I loved him and I wouldn’t betray him. And there I was not loving him and betraying him at the same time. And it has taken me a few years to realize that, to come to a place where I can look at that moment and see ….. wow….I really dropped the ball here. I really was unloving. He invited me out, knowing I would find out about this betrayal and this dark spot. He trusted me to deal with it with him. And I betrayed that trust. I told him he wasn’t worth it. That his betrayal, and my pain, were worth more to me than he was. Than our friendship was. And there I thought I was in the right. I wasn’t. 
                Jesus gave me this awesome chance to really step into a role He Himself had. He gave me a chance to learn a lesson He Himself had to learn. Jesus gave me this amazing opportunity to grow in intimacy with Him, to know Him better by walking with Him down this path. And I threw it back in my Lord faith. I said “Nope! This is too hard! This is too painful! I ain’t goin there!!” And I turned my back on what God said I had the strength to do, and I turned my back on my friend. And I hurt the both of us so deeply. My friend was in a dark place, and Jesus gave me an opportunity to shine His light into my friend’s life to help him find a way back to Christ…..and I completely failed. I dropped the ball. Because I was selfish.
                And I know the world’s way of thinking what agree with me on this. I know many people won’t agree with me on this. But there is the world’s way of thinking….and then there is the Kingdom’s way of thinking that Jesus taught us. I am to follow the example of Jesus, and that day I didn’t. Kingdom ethics don’t put me first, they our neighbor first. No matter what anyone says my actions didn’t shine the light of Christ into the situation nor into either of our lives. Rather they continued to shroud us further in darkness. And I owe my friend an apology. So I am very, very sorry.
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