Dining with Traitors

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22 (The New King James Version)

We all have times when someone, even a fellow Christian, will say or do something to hurt us; maybe even something unbiblical. We become offended having what we believe to be justified or even “righteous” anger, but is that how Christians are called to act? Even if we are in the right, can we still be wrong?

In one such time I was studying Luke 22, and came across something interesting. In that chapter Jesus sat with the disciples in the upper room, and partook of Passover with them. Passover was to be observed with your family or closest friends, so Jesus considered these men his family, his closest friends. Of the twelve at that table, one would betray Him, one would deny Him, and all would desert Him. Not only did He consider them friends, He stooped down, humbled himself, washed their feet. We know that when He told the disciples that one of them would betray Him, they didn’t know who it was; which means Jesus treated Judas His betrayer with as much love as He did the other eleven.

When we defend ourselves in anger against another’s attack it is pride. Think about it this way; if Jesus laid down His life, and we defend ours we are telling Him “I don’t want your way Lord, I’m too good for that, I’m doing it my way.”

We are told in Philippians 2:3 to "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves."

May we be able to show love to those who wrong us just like Christ. May we always forgive “seventy times seven times.”

Lord grant us the strength to forgive those who hurt us, and the humility to esteem others above ourselves. Let us be instruments of your love, to heal rather than hurt, to pray rather than accuse, and to show your love rather than our anger. Amen.