Loving the Betrayer - A Reflection on John 13:16-20
It’s been a while since I started a reflection with a question so let me ask you one
today. I know that all of you have had relationships with people over the years, not
necessarily romantic. I also know that while most of them have been good (I hope),
some have ended terribly. Trust has been shattered, confidences have been
betrayed, hearts have been broken. Yes? Now here is the question: if you knew that
a particular person was going to hurt you, would you still have allowed him (or her)
into your life?
I thought about this when I read today’s passage. Jesus knew from the beginning
what Judas was going to do, yet he allowed him to come into his inner circle. He
lived with him, ate with him, taught him, loved him. He knew what Peter was going to
do too, as well as the other apostles. We tend to fixate on Peter and Judas as two
men who let down Jesus, but the others weren’t too brave either. James and John
fled when Jesus was arrested (see Matthew 26:56). Yet, he called them all his
friends (see John 15:15). How did he do it?
Because he was pure love. And, as Scripture says, “love covers a multitude of sins”
(1 Peter 4:8). I want us to understand this because if we are to love like Jesus does,
then we have to learn how love works. Imagine holding an object in your hand (like,
perhaps a remote control). I can see it clearly. But, if I put a handkerchief over it, I
don’t see it anymore. It is not as if the remote disappears; it is still there, but I have
concealed it under the kerchief.
It’s the same with the sins of others. Love is the equivalent of the kerchief. I place it
over the persons sins, CHOOSING not to see them. Let me explain how this works
practically. I have been married for close to 32 years now. And for the most part,
especially before I came back to Christ, I have been a terrible husband. Yet,
whenever I told my wife that, she would say, “That’s what you say, but I see only
somebody wonderful. I can’t even remember the bad things you did.”
I used to marvel at that, thinking God had given her a special grace, but as I have
drawn near to Jesus over the years, I have realized this automatically happens when
you are close to him. You don’t remember the bad things people do. And why should
you? Think about your friendships. Haven’t you had some wonderful moments
together? Yet, one little thing happens, and you focus on that instead of the
hundreds of good times you shared earlier. So, don’t! Remember the good times,
and very soon you won’t even remember the bad.
And then, you will be able to say, “I still love you”. And, even though the person who
hurt you may not understand how you possibly can, you know it’s because it’s how
Jesus did it.