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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

I have come to set the earth on fire" (Lk 12:49) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Divine Call Archives

Why did it have to be?

By Linda Joseph Kavalackal

Michael Card’s favourite song pleads to the Lord thus:

Why did it have to be a friend Who chose to betray the Lord? Why did he use a kiss to show them That's not what a kiss is for? Only a friend can betray a friend A stranger has nothing to gain And only a friend comes close enough To ever cause so much pain
Betrayal is one of life’s bitterest pains – sometimes almost physically daunting in its intensity.
The Bible lists several instances of betrayal. Joseph’s own brothers sold him as a slave, just because he was naïve enough to share with them God’s visions for him (Genesis 37) Jeremiah preached for the glory of God. Hence, he was ostracised and finally his dearest friends sought his downfall (Jeremiah 20:10) The Psalmist lost his 'companion, equal and closest friend with whom he kept pleasant company'. The one who worshipped with him, had now joined his enemy ranks (Psalm 55) Job’s ‘friends’ thought he deserved more correction for what he did or did not do. "My close friends detest me. Those I loved have turned against me". (Job 19:19)
All of us have faced it. Being rejected and maligned by people very dear to us – by parents, spouses, children, best friends, authority and Christian leaders; sometime even by persons we trusted closely with every secret, struggle and victory in our day-to-day lives. People often share to me about the pain of treachery within the families and the church. But you realise its agony when you experience it first hand. They dig out your story and use it against you. They steal your hard work. First you may be in denial. When you hear several rumours of words spoken against you, you still defend your loved one. You believe the hearer got it wrong. But life then shows you painful and undeniable proofs - in their own words. They insult you to your face. You see with your own eyes what they have written to others about you. You hear what they have told others about you. Not just once and not to one person alone. You have seen them betray others but you never thought they would use and throw you, your friendship. They bored of your affection and loyalty. Or they did not get the attention or blind obedience they demanded. And they lash out – as Lord Jesus said, they really do not know what they are doing.
Been there. Been lied about, dissected along with other common friends in my absence, judged, labelled, my spirituality analysed and the worst - other people I genuinely love and care for – warned about my beliefs, even though what I give out is HIS love, not my beliefs.
I have heard someone say once that if Judas had not committed suicide, Jesus would have held him tightly back to His bosom. I agree. If there is anyone who can relate with that kind of cruel betrayal, it is Jesus. But He would forgive, love again with more intensity and rebuild much more that what was lost. Our sweet Jesus who was love personified, was betrayed twice. By Peter and by Judas. At least one repented. The other was too late. Jesus was betrayed by Judas into the hands of phoney 'religious’ leaders who was merely using him as a pawn. How can a man be so blinded that he can betray a friend? The mental anguish caused by the betrayal of Judas, one of Jesus' closest friends, is often overlooked because we focus on Christ’s physical agony, which came soon afterwards. But how much would that betrayal have shattered our Lord? He had invested His time in Judas. He loved Judas. He cared intensely for Judas, on a day-to-day basis. Yet He was betrayed. He felt the pain. He wept. But Jesus responded to Judas graciously and with kindness.
My penny’s worth if you are the betrayed one:
Be still in His presence. Cry face down on the floor if you want to. I have been there - curled up foetal posture because I couldn't hold the shock and the pain and didn't know how to help myself. Sometimes we do not disclose these betrayals to others because we want to give these betrayers the respect they never gave us. Confrontations are not easy because they will only focus on the good they have done for us – yes, true, they did much good for us - but their evil today causes so much harm and anguish, which they don’t know. And that's when you feel totally alone. You cannot speak up and you do not want to speak out. But you don't have to tell anyone - that would be an eye for an eye. Hence, plead to the Holy Spirit - "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." (Romans 8:26) Some people make us hate God through their actions. Many loathe the church not because of what it really is, but what Christians and so-called leaders of the faith do to the common man. Plead, plead, plead for healing and grace - to trust and love again – God, the church and His creations - people.
Forgive. Let go and let God. He who is the Lord of the wind and the waves, can calm our souls. He can turn the harm satan intended, for our good. Amen. Many sincere Christians struggle with the way people put spokes into their hard work and ministry. People with integrity cannot see the work of our hands being destroyed or turned mediocre. Mediocrity always strives to pull everything down to its own level; makes excuses for it, and worse still, gets the support of the powerful and the corrupt for it. And the committed Christian suffers. It’s a painful daily thorn. But each time you remember – because, trust me, those agonising waves of pain will come lashing back - speak out a blessing and not a curse. Like the sadhu who kept trying to save a scorpion who kept on stinging him. The sadhu justified his behaviour with, “It is the scorpion’s nature to sting and my nature to save”. Amen to that. Focus on Jesus - love personified. We as Christians should have love as second nature. And keep loving and do what you can for HIM, in His strength. You will have His joy, for sure! "He will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in HIM". (Isaiah 26:3)
Speak and pray the Word of God over your situation. On an agonising dawn months ago, when a huge spirit of rejection and depression tried to crush me, I had to speak aloud and claim 2 Timothy 1:7 (He has not given me a spirit of fear/depression/grief, but of power, love and a sound mind) over and over, hundreds of times during a 3-hour long journey; I didn't succumb to that pain only in the strength of the Word. I was not destroyed. Thanks be to God. “I give attention to God’s words; I incline my ear to His sayings. I do not let them depart from my eyes; I keep them in the midst of my heart; For they are life, and health to all my flesh” (Proverbs 4:20-22) God never promised us that weapons would not be formed against us, but He promised that no weapon formed against us shall prosper. Put on the armour of God and fight because we “do not fight against flesh and blood,but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12) Use the sword of the Word of God to slash the enemy’s attack. Amen!
Use that betrayal to mould your character for the better. Crush us back and send us to the mill; all you are getting is new steel :O) Let this not break you but teach you that there is no bestest friend other than the Holy Spirit. If you have been betrayed enough by family or your dearest friend and you still do not learn to be shrewd as a serpent along with being innocent as a dove, when will you ever learn? Do not give another human being the power to make you happy or destroy you. But do not let it kill your ability to love. And do not let friends gossip to you either, about common friends. Your absent friend deserves that respect. Being betrayed should teach you not to betray. Learn to love more like Jesus. Let this incident make you closer to God and make you stronger in Him. Move on with Him and become more Christlike. "Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13,14)
And if you are the betrayer, just one warning – you will be judged by God for every idle word and judgement passed against one of His precious daughters/sons - especially if it's someone who trusted you blindly, like a friend. And if it is someone’s church/ministry you are trying to put spokes into, how much ever good intention you posses, you are still raising hands or words against God’s anointed. All of us – from the smallest to the youngest to the weakest - are HIS anointed. You are answerable to God. Stop and remember His warning – do unto others just what you want them to do unto you. Love covers the flaw of another - it does not expose another's weaknesses. If you cannot picture being at the receiving end of the same behaviour, words or judgement from your own friends, don't do that to another who trusts you. That is doing unto others what you want them to do to you. Please stop yourself and apologise, at least fearing God. Or you will have to pay. And God will hold you responsible - for the struggling man/woman of God you reduced to tears and the ministry you reduced to mediocrity, with your power play and spite. You may have believed your own words, but what if there is a remote chance that you are wrong? The gossip you shared - emails and messages can be deleted and the idle warnings you gave - can be hidden from the ears of your friend who trusts you, but never forever. It has gone around and done much harm. Eventually, it will find its way to the person who trusted you and remember - once spoken, such words can never be forgotten or taken back. Nobody deserves that - least of all a friend.
Do I still hurt? Yes, occasionally when I am feeling vulnerable, satan, cheap as he is, uses the memory of what ‘wonderful, innocent and godly’ trust I once had - to rip my heart apart and sting my eyes with tears. Satan tries to make me feel like a fool for trusting His creations so much, but I immediately let go to Jesus because I know today that Christians - including myself - may not really represent Christ all the time. And because I cannot hold all that pain in. Not even for a millisecond. And I ask the Holy Spirit to suffocate me with HIS love - for God, the world and especially my friend who betrayed me. And the Holy Spirit, my love, HE does so, all the time.
Cos He’s still working on me. Right? :O) All glory to Him. Hallelujah <3

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Divine Retreat - Divine Call Archive
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Divine Retreat - Divine Call Archive
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Divine Retreat - Divine Call Archive
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Divine Retreat - Divine Call Archive
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