It seems that betrayal is something we dealt with on the playground.
You know, your once “best” friend leaves you in the dust and becomes someone else’s “best” friend. You feel betrayed, and horribly negative feelings creep in. What do I do? How do I handle?
You hire an employee and treat them as a valuable resource, pay them well, and give them control of their duties… Then they move on, and you have to start the process all over again.
You let someone into your life and closely enjoy their company.
Well…. You know. You’ve been there also.
Here’s what I will tell you about betrayal experienced too many times. You draw into a shell and build walls around you to protect your life from others. Maybe that’s why there are many “loners” out there. They’ve been betrayed just one too many times.
It was at that last meal before his arrest. Jesus is with his 12 closest disciples. There are many others that follow him, but these 12 are the ones to whom he personally called to be his inner circle. Now, one of them will betray him. How can this be?
When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night. (John 13:21-30 KJV)
We no longer call our children by this name. Judas. Betrayer. In fact, there is a syndrome named after this, rightfully called the Judas Syndrome (sample book here). It’s often the one we never expect that will be the one to turn their back on us and sell us out.
This is why we never share secrets, even with a close friend or family member. Or, at least this is the reason why we never should!
What is different about the situation at the Last Supper? Jesus knew who would betray him. Maybe it was his divinity that opened up the window into the heart of Judas. Maybe it was simply the fact that Judas was entertaining Satan, and the holy spirit of Jesus could sense it. (Luke 22:3, John 13:2) Regardless of the reason, Jesus allows it to happen because there was more to still be done.
Was Judas a good man? Perhaps. He only allowed his self interest to drive his actions, taking no account of the friendship of Jesus. Instead of being a part of the solution, he puts himself into the position of trying to create direction as he sees it “should” be. Judas attempted to control the circumstances as he thought they should be… What happens to him?
Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:3-5 KJV)
A sinner. A betrayer. A repenter. He seeks to undo what he started. It is rejected, so he seeks, and finds, his own death.
Maybe this is the end result of betrayers everywhere. Not a death as found by Judas. But a death to their future. Once a betrayer, and never a penitent, their future is often laid out before them. Their reputation precedes them. They are forever labeled. Betrayer.
Can a betrayer ever make it right? Possibly. Depending on the timing and circumstances. But their deed and names are remembered, written in the tomes of history, and read/studied for generations to come.
- Brutus betrays and kills Caesar, his uncle (Et tu Brutus?)
- The Rosenbergs, Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen (Spy to USA)
- Benedict Arnold (Betrayed the Revolutionary Army of the fledgling USA)
These names will ring out through history. You have your own list of names, and perhaps you share their betrayal with anyone who will listen. (I have a time or two!) Or, you simply watch your back better and never give anyone else the opportunity of getting too close.
That’s the way I handle it….