“Jesus was troubled in spirit, and testified, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant” - John 13:21-22
In Greek, to “betray” means to hand the other over to suffering. Judas’ betrayal handed Jesus over to suffering. Peter’s denial leaves Jesus to suffer alone. In different ways, Judas and Peter are sources of sorrow for Jesus.
The truth is that each of us hands others over to suffering, especially those close to us. Intentionally or unknowingly we betray as Judas or deny as Peter. We overprotect, cling too tightly, or hold unrealistic expectations of people we profess to love. Judas handed Jesus over to suffering partially because he wanted to force Jesus to become a political Messiah; Peter denied knowing Jesus because the cost of such discipleship would be too much for him.
When we are willing to confess that we often hand those we love over to suffering, even against our best intentions, we can experience God’s forgiving love. In turn, we will be more ready to forgive those who, often against their will, are the causes of our pain.
“Lord, help me to understand the ways I may be causing others to suffer.”
inspired by Henri Nouwen
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