Words that come too quickly out of our mouths are the main way most people become "mean makers."
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit," (Proverbs 18:21).
The words we speak can have life and death consequences. The Bible says we should be quick to hear and slow to speak (James 1:19).
"Jesus who is the Savior of the world, accepted Judas' betrayal because it was God's will," says Anais, 12. "It was written in Scripture. Jesus acted calmly and patiently toward Judas."
Amazingly, the prophet Zechariah wrote in the 6th century before Christ's birth that he would be betrayed for the price of 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13). Furthermore, that same price was to be paid if your ox got loose and gored your neighbor's slave, according to the Mosaic Law (Exodus 21:32).
Jesus was well aware of this prophecy. "Jesus was probably not mad, but sad at Judas," says Sophia, 11. "He knew already that Judas was going to betray him, but he still let it happen."
Knowing Judas would betray him, didn't make it easy for Jesus. The prophet Isaiah describes the Messiah as "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," (Isaiah 53:3).
For a practical application of what we can learn from the gracious way Jesus treated his betrayer on the night before his crucifixion, we look again to Anais, 12: "When a friend is gossiping about you, you should stop and think, 'What would Jesus do?' He would pray for them and let God take over. God is in control of everything and his will is always best for us."
It's great to ask "What would Jesus do?" but I prefer "What is Jesus doing?" The risen savior is on his heavenly throne and at the same time indwelling his people through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is far more than our example. His indwelling presence allows us to live beyond our paltry means.
Do I have the power to treat a betrayer or gossiper graciously? No. My natural impulse is to deliver a swift kick to their gossiping mouth. Jesus possesses all the grace I need to deal with a gossip, but how to I draw upon his grace?
All who believe in Jesus as savior have received the gift of eternal life. Their future is secure. However, Jesus wants Christians to experience his abundant life now. Just because you're destined to live in God's kingdom forever doesn't mean you're experiencing the love, joy and peace that Jesus has for you now.
One promise Jesus made is rarely ever quoted in Sunday sermons: "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world," (John 16:33b).
Think about this: This world is full of trouble. It's reassuring to know that Jesus has overcome this world, which includes all the unfaithful people who have betrayed you. This scenario reminds me of what Winston Churchill said after his daring escape as a prisoner during the Boer War: "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result."
Memorize this truth: "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world," (I John 4:4).
Ask this question: Will you draw upon God's grace and power to forgive those who have betrayed you?
COPYRIGHT 2023 CAREY KINSOLVING