Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Getting Cheated On When You're Dead

To replace the superhero fan's Smallville addiction, the CW Network introduced a new series called Arrow. Arrow is the story of Oliver Queen, a billionaire playboy who gets stranded on an island for five years and returns to become the Green Arrow. During the five years when everyone thinks he is dead, Oliver's old girlfriend and his best friend become an item. Oliver finds out about their pairing in the course of his new superhero duties, but he refuses to let on. He continues to treat them just as he did before, and never holds their coupling while he was "dead" against them, even though he is still in love with his old girlfriend.

Jesus endured a similar, but much more difficult situation. In John 13, Jesus prepares to leave his disciples for the cross and gives them a demonstration of the attitude he wants them to have with one another. He strips down to his linens, and takes on the job of the lowliest servant, washing the disciples' feet. Naturally, Peter opposes allowing Jesus to act like a lowly servant but Jesus insists, making it a requirement of following him. Brash Peter immediately changes his tune, asking Jesus to wash not only his feet but his head and hands as well. Jesus replied, "A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you." For Jesus knew who would betray him. This is what he meant when he said, "Not all of you are clean." After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down (John 13:10-12, NLT).

I want you to think about that for a minute. Jesus is on the verge of being betrayed and handed over to be tortured and murdered. Jesus knows who is going to betray him and cause him this pain, but he never lets on. A few verses later, Jesus tells one of the disciples that Judas will betray him, but Jesus says it in such even tones that none of the other disciples understand Jesus' pronouncement, thinking Jesus has simply sent Judas out on a task. Jesus knew exactly who Judas was and how Judas was going to betray him, but he never treated him any differently. Jesus washed Judas's feet just like everybody else and then served him a meal just like everybody else, even knowing the pain Judas was going to cause him.

While we want to be like Jesus, it is a whole lot easier to hold a grudge against the people who hurt us. Our natural reaction is to pull away from those people or to treat them like the scumbags we think they are. Sometimes, we even try to be nice to those people because we know we are supposed to, but we may find it difficult and our kindness may come across as forced. Jesus sets a higher standard for us. Jesus treated Judas so well that even when Jesus told John that Judas would betray him, that idea simply didn't compute.

Who has hurt or mistreated you? Maybe a family member has gone behind your back. Maybe a friend has betrayed your trust. Maybe you were hurt by someone who is so focused on themselves they still haven't realized how badly they hurt you. You may or may not need to talk to the person who hurt you about the pain they've caused. But as a follower of Christ, you must treat them as well as Jesus treated Judas. How you treat your betrayer says much more about you than it says about them.

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