Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. Matthew 26:49-50
Have you ever felt betrayed by a friend? A sense of being stabbed in the back by someone you thought was a loyal supporter? Maybe it happened at work and you found yourself falsely accused by a team member you thought was your ally. You experienced anger, vulnerability and aloneness. Or perhaps a close confidant shared your secrets with another who was wounded by your words. You extended total trust, only to be deeply disappointed by their indiscreet behavior.
Jesus faced betrayal from a disciple in His inner circle. Though the Lord knew Judas was up to no good, He still received his affection and called him friend. Jesus’ mercy begins with a man or woman’s unseemly motivations and moves on to cover their actions. Interestingly enough, Peter and Judas each betrayed Christ and both were remorseful, but only Peter received the mercy and forgiveness of God. Judas’ all consuming guilt kept Him from seeing and receiving God’s grace.
“But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20, NKJV).
Therefore, as we learn to receive and extend mercy, we experience emotional and spiritual health. As Jesus prays from the cross, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34), so we forgive. Mercy is not manic about proving itself right, rather it trusts in the Righteous One--Christ--to make things right in His time. We give mercy generously since our Savior has lavished His mercy upon us. Mercy looks beyond the crime to forgive the criminal.
Above all, do you enjoy the mercy of God? Is your sleep sweet because of the sweet forgiveness of your heavenly Father? Be like Peter--repent and rest in God’s mercy. Avoid being like Judas, who gave back the bribe, but would not receive God’s forgiveness. The Lord’s mercy is deep and wide enough to cover those who betray Him. Let go of guilt that steals your joy and replace it with the grace and peace of God. Your heavenly Father has not turned His back on you, His full mercy is available to hug and kiss you. Christ’s abundant mercy can heal your guilty heart.
“Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love” (2 John 1:3).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I receive Your abundant mercy, so I in turn can extend Your abundant mercy.
Related Readings: Hosea 6:6; Proverbs 11:13; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25; Hebrews 4:16
Post/Tweet today: Mercy looks beyond the crime to forgive the criminal. #wisdomhunters
© 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.