Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Extreme Love

-- His name is synonymous with BETRAYAL, his life an emblem of greed, ambition, and cold-hearted, self-serving treachery. Unwilling to adjust his expectations of how life should be, he chose bitterness in response to disappointment. Ultimately, when faced with his own wickedness, he chose to take his own life rather than to bow at the foot of the cross he so despised.
JUDAS.
"As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night." John 13:30 NIV
It was as dark as night within the heart of Judas too. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
HIS name is Love. HIS name is Way, and Truth, and Life. HIS name is I AM, Word, Lamb, Light! His life is the the exact representation of God. Despite all that, rather than to cling to the privilege of Deity that was rightfully His, in humility, He gave up all His expectations and chose love in the face of betrayal. Humankind had betrayed Him, first in the Garden, then all down through history, to the very moment when Judas betrayed with a deadly kiss and beyond to our every day. Ultimately, when faced with the choice to save Himself or die for betrayers, He chose the via crucis, the way of the cross.
Jesus.
"In him was life, and that life was the light of men." John 1:4 NIV There is no darkness in Jesus . . . at all.
Wonder of wonders, when Jesus had all the knowledge of the ugly raging thoughts of evil swirling in the heart of His follower-turned-traitor, Judas, Jesus just loved him. Time after time Jesus gave Judas opportunities to respond in faith and love. That is about as extreme as love gets! Jesus walked a line that we find so very hard to follow. With only the smallest of slights, real or imagined, we feel so entitled to our indignation and our right to react, to stand up for ourselves, to make sure no one gets over on us!
That. is not. like Jesus.
If we want to be like Him, (and I do, don't you?!), then we have to be as gracious in the face of these moments as Jesus was. If He could love dark-hearted Judas, how much more should we be patient and kind and loving and forgiving of the people in our lives, most of whom don't even mean us any harm? A lot more!! When we love like Jesus wants us to, waves of His grace wash away every trace of the offense and leave relationships whole and healthy and alive.
Thank you to Hero Husband for reminding me of this truth this week. I love you!!
How can you give grace to people when they slight you in some way? How does Jesus example inspire you?

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