He rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.
Have you ever been betrayed? Your name smeared unjustly? I’m not talking on the bathroom wall either. I’m talking about at the same church you were baptized and married in. I’m referring to when your best friend from childhood through adulthood is two facing you to others. I’m talking about your own flesh and blood biting the very back they use to lie upon while watching Saturday cartoons. I want to move close to you for a moment. Have you ever been betrayed by a person you loved with all your heart. In the movie Braveheart, there is a scene that speaks a language of pain and betrayal without words. It is the look upon William Wallace’s (Mel Gibson) face as he pulls the knights helmet off his would be enemy; only to discover his own king and friend has betrayed him after a handshake of loyalty. Remember the scene? Remember the look? Is your betrayal fresh, or old? Was it yesterday or 10 years ago? Have you really dealt with it? Did it break your spirit? Proverbs 18:14 “The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit?
Stay with me. I want to show you 3 truths that will start the healing process in you. It is important that you guard your heart from hatred, rage, unforgiveness and bitterness toward the guilty person. Judas and Peter were the only two disciples who verbally betrayed Jesus. Ironically, Judas and Peter are the only two names mentioned around the table where Jesus was washing filthy feet. Could Jesus be revealing an insight into overcoming betrayal? Let’s see.
Knowing whose you are and where you are going in God
This is the first step to overcoming betrayal. It was for Jesus. Read how He encouraged Himself before washing Judas’s feet. Remember, Jesus already knew Satan had entered Judas before He washed his feet. Jesus silently encourages Himself in scripture. “Jesus, knowing that the father had given all things into His hand, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garment….” John 13:3 Jesus encouraged Himself in the fact that He had come from God and was going back to God. This gave Him the ability and strength to wash His betrayer’s feet. How much more do we need to follow Jesus’ example here. Again, knowing who you belong to and what He has called you to do is key to overcoming the hatred and bitterness attached with being betrayed.
You must take action
“After that, He poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciple’s feet.” John 13:5 Note the action of pouring. Much effort and strength is required to lift and pour water. Don’t forget that forgiveness, as well as love, is a verb. Take action! If Jesus had not forgiven Judas, He would have sinned. Unless you forgive, you cannot be forgiven the Bible declares. It’s your heart at stake, not the betrayers. You cannot control the hearts of others. You must take action and begin to pour the water yourself, regardless of how you feel about the situation. The Holy Spirit is a wonderful counselor if we’ll listen to Him. If your motive is pure, He will direct, comfort and empower you to walk out your action. Leave the consequences to God. You be obedient!
Your dry towel must get wet
John 13:5 “…and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” That means the towel Jesus was wearing got uncomfortably wet, dirty, stinky and heavy. Friend, if your going to overcome the Judas’s in your life, you must take off and put on the garment of humility. It’ going to get messy, dirty and heavy! Just remember, it’s God’s mess! Jesus didn’t stop after washing their feet, but completed the task by drying as well. Don’t leave loose ends. Don’t just call or email. Go directly to your brother or sister! Dirty towels can always be washed! A dirty heart is a completely different matter.