Reflecting on today's readings, I am struck by the contrast between praise for a God of strength and salvation, who makes us glorious and strong and the impending betrayal of Jesus by Judas. Why, after learning so much about Jesus, did Judas betray him? Why did Satan enter Judas? What kind of lesson is this for us, especially so close to Easter?
When I think about Judas, I recall all the bad things that I have heard about him since I first heard and began to understand the Easter story. He was the disciple who sold Jesus out. He placed money over loyalty to the Son of God. He thought he knew what he was doing, but later, he must have had profound regret and took his own life to escape that regret. I do not recall ever hearing much about forgiveness for Judas, and I have wondered what happened to Judas’ soul.
When I think about Judas, I reflect on the notion of betrayal in our lives. How many times have we believed that someone has betrayed us? Was the betrayal an action that caused us actual harm, or was it simply going against our wishes for that person? What was our reaction to what we believed was a betrayal? Were we able to forgive, or have we held onto the betrayal for an extended period of time? If we have held onto hurt, anger, disappointment, or other negative emotions in response to a betrayal, we have paid a dear price for someone else’s action toward us.
As we approach Easter, my prayer for all is forgiveness. I pray not necessarily that we will be forgiven but more that we will forgive. For each of us, I suspect that there are people who have either hurt us or disappointed us. I suspect that for some, forgetting and forgiving are difficult. The hurt may seem to be too great to be forgiven or forgotten. If we can accept the fact that forgiving is not only good for us but also good for the people who may have hurt us, perhaps forgiving may be possible. If we can forgive, we can allow ourselves to grow, whereas failing to forgive keeps us in a no-growth state. Even though we may disagree in our circumstance, the words of Jesus, “… they know not what they do” provide a comfort. Most people who seem to hurt us usually do not realize what they have done, and we actually punish ourselves as we try to punish them with our anger and hurt. My prayer for us all is an end to Lent that is accompanied by our forgiving as well as our being forgiven.
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