Going through my DivorceCare workbook, I was brought to the book of Matthew, which lighted upon the very subject I am suffering from: betrayal and lonliness. I was brought to where Jesus was both betrayed by his followers Judas and Peter. How sad and hurt Jesus must have felt when Judas kissed him on the cheek, thus turning him over to his enemies, and then to be denied three times by Peter as he suffered. Jesus was lead to his death after being deserted by his disciples, and suffered alone on that cross. I’ve always known this story, one we remember all year long,and especially at this time of celebration that is Easter. But I felt the sadness that Jesus must have experienced as men he had called his brothers turned on him in his hour of need. But the difference with Jesus, his loving heart forgave them, even before the events had taken place. He knew the reason for these betrayals, and knew it was to fulfill the Scriptures. And then in the end, when all was said and done, he asked his father in heaven to forgive his enemies. It prompted me to read more, and I came upon this passage of encouragement in Matthew 5.
“God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted, too.” Matthew 5:11-12
And it goes on with words about being the salt and the light of the earth, teachings about anger and reconciliation, teachings about revenge and joyful giving, and teachings about love for your enemy. These are all things that I have been attempting to live by, and the encouragement that I received last night from rereading this passage was exactly where I needed to be to bring me some peace. I encourage all of you to read Matthew 5 in times of trial when your heart is at war with another person, and how to act upon it. This has been my life’s lesson, one I’ve had to have plenty of practice with in the past couple of months, how to be good and sweet to those who wish the worst for me and treat me with contempt, and understand that my reward lies in heaven. And the truth is, I do pray that eventually my demeanor in these situations will rub off on my ex and his girlfriend so that they may be good, too. Is that heaping coals on my enemies’ heads, Paster Tom?