I was 12. That’s when I experienced betrayal for the first time - betrayal that changed my perception of a lot of things and also shaped my entire young adult life. Betrayal that took me years to overcome. It was betrayal that made me take a double take at everything – first and foremost, myself.
There’s no way I can be poetic about this, so, let me come right out and say it – I was subject to abuse when I was 12 years old. The man was a close family friend, much older than my parents and someone I trusted.
What followed thereafter was a whirlwind of emotions, reactions and responses. There was shame, guilt, feeling of being so dirty that no amount of scrubbing can clean it up, there was the feeling of worthlessness and ugliness. For the record, all of these reactions are baseless and inappropriate. If you’re reading this and you’re reminded of what happened with you, I want to be the person telling you this: IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.
These emotions did get the better of me and I slowly went on a downward spiral, only I was too proud to admit it back then. I was striving to belong somewhere, I was striving to gain an identity, I was striving to be known in the midst of trying to hide what I had been through because if anyone knew what I had been through, I would be an outcast. The tension between the performance I was trying to put up and my real heart condition was too much to live with.
Years went by and the repercussions of the betrayal lived on.
There is yet another betrayal that impacted my life. In fact, this betrayal impacted me even more than the one I’ve talked about above.
"While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, 'Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?'" (Luke 22:47-48).
Jesus knew He was going to be betrayed, Jesus knew who was going to betray Him, Jesus knew that this betrayal would mean death and He still stuck on with it. Many a times I’ve wondered why Jesus chose to die this way. I’ve wondered why He didn’t choose a ‘better’ death – if one such death did exist, in fact. I wonder what it would mean if Jesus died in His sleep, I wonder what it would mean if Jesus died of a heart attack/natural causes. I wonder if a less severe death would’ve achieved what the crucifixion of Christ through Judas Iscariot’s betrayal did. You see, when Jesus – the God who became man - chose to be betrayed by a human being, He chose to make Himself vulnerable to yet another predicament that we as human beings do become recipients of. Jesus – the perfect and sinless man – was subject to the worst kind of pain that any person can deal with.
However, the profound part of Christ’ betrayal is that it undoes the betrayal that I was subject to. How? When Jesus died on that cross, He died for me. He died to pay for all the sins of mankind – ones I’ve committed and ones committed against me. When He was buried in that tomb, He became the world’s greatest martyr. And when God raised Jesus from the grave, He pronounced ‘justice complete’ over the sins of mankind from eternity to eternity.
The counter intuitive climax of my story is that through the betrayal that Christ went through, my betrayal stands redeemed and I get invited to enjoy an eternal friendship with God.
To those ones who’ve been through what I went through or perhaps even worse: the world doesn’t end there. Jesus sees our pain and offers us comfort. Give Him a shot, maybe?
To those ones who haven’t been through what I did: Truth be told, betrayal comes in many forms and I’m certain you’ve been betrayed at least one - in that, I pray Jesus finds you and offers you the friendship that only He can.
He never betrays us and that’s the best part about Him!
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