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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing"

"You betrayed me by not being the kind of Messiah I wanted. So I will betray you." If this statement and belief attributed to the one known in the Bible, as Judas Iscariot is accurate, it demonstrates a misguided belief of a quid pro quo that would result in a chain of events leading to a death. However, a betrayal, particularly one perpetrated on someone we care about, can never be justified for any reason. This passage says that "...his selfish heart..." lead him to a presumption that unmet expectations justified his act of betrayal. Shame on him!

A betrayal by those near and dear to us causes more hurt than the perpetrator might have imagined prior to entertaining it, and if that person were to reflect on the consequences, the hurt, and the disappointment, or imagined how it might feel if instead of committing it s/he were its victim, perhaps there would be a different outcome -- perhaps. Ignoring the pain caused by such transgressions, a person bent on satisfying their selfish heart will do what they’ll do and ignore any consequences on anyone, until they face the reality of their actions – the loss of the loved one’s respect, the loss of a friendship, or a host of other unimagined consequences, including the death of a loved one!

As in this act of betrayal by Judas against his Messiah, a person whom he, and eleven other close disciples loved, shows, deception is most often unbearable, and in this instance, lead to a death. However, betrayal is far more common than we imagine, there is the marital infidelity type, the abusive elder type, the envious brother/sister type, and regardless of the acts, the results usually leave, if not broken relationships, wrecked lives or lamentable and out of control situations.

Like any person who has loved and been loved, there have been times when the relationship suffered from unmet expectations. However, if a relationship is true, regardless of the type, e.g., parent/child; husband/wife; brother/sister; boyfriend/girlfriend; employer/employee, one attempts to work on and overcome the occasional conflicts caused by unmet expectations, and does not look to avenge a perceived transgression with another transgression. Unfortunately a discovery of such a callous act usually overwhelms the senses with all the emotions that are closely tied to a sensible belief of a person’s righteousness and their evident breach of that belief – it is true shock and awe! To overcome the emotional hurt and see thing dispassionately may require distancing yourself from the issue and the culprit, but in the heat of the moment, that is difficult; one goes head-on into tackling the “why?” or the “how could you?” and we lose track of what may be necessary for us to do to overcome the problem.

It is when the "selfish heart" is in command of our faculties that we forget to put ourselves in the recipient's place to fully grasp the impact of our actions. And no one can be a judge of the other's acts (or transgressions) for this too is written: "let he who is without sin, cast the first stone." The implication here is that no one is above reproach. But certainly one thing does not justify the other. We're discussing betrayal and its collateral damage. Only the person who has been betrayed can truly appreciate all that this event signifies in their life, but I can say and you might imagine if you have not yet lived this experience, that the hurt is more than physical, it is spiritual, the emotions that careen out of control -- sorrow, disbelief, pain, sadness, anguish, despair, disappointment, disillusionment, and a bevy of others, magnifies the significance of the incident on our psyche. It is at these times when the victim must be as static and restrained as Jesus demonstrated even before Judas was to betray him.

In simpler terms, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It is in this eleven-word phrase that one can take correct action, which, if we follow in good conscience, will result in a harmonious outcome.

Once the damage is done, the victim can either waddle in their sorrow and continuously ask why, or why me, and potentially create more emotional damage to themselves, or, can decide to take matters into their own proverbial hands and move forward from the incident -- either forgiving the betrayer or coming to terms with a reality that perhaps the betrayer didn't do anything other than demonstrate that the love that may have been, was truly not. After all, if you love someone, you will consider him or her in all your actions, and hopefully take the best course of action for the benefit of everyone concerned.

Moving past the transgression requires a deep analysis of all that preceded the failing and what remains to be resolved. This can only happen if and when the persons involved own up to their respective roles in the matter.

If one is to rebuild beyond the incident, one must not resort to blame. If one is true to their part in the situation that forged the failing one may be able to correct the matter and accept that in our human experience we can and will make mistakes, but only by acknowledging the foible will we be able to truly be one for the other, and, painful as all that came before may be, if we are the one to continue to trust and love, we must chose to live by our principles, and hope and pray for the better tomorrow. The opposite will result in our praying for forgiveness, as Jesus did when nothing he said or did changed the actions of the many who condemned him unjustly… “...forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

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