So, as you all know, I've been using my blog to write letters to people in my life who have made an impact or found a place in my heart. There are many of these letter floating around in my head to so, so many people. I am sure that when I am finished with this project I will continue to think of people I should have written to and am certain that there's no way I'll be able to express myself to every person who has impacted my life. If you're reading them, know that this is just a sample of what's in my heart. I am overwhelmed with the words I want to say to those I love. I fear that I will never be able to say enough.
And then there are some letters, like the one I just finished writing, that probably should remain private.
You see, as I alluded to in an earlier post, I've made some huge mistakes in my life. I've made some choices that hurt people immensely and ended some relationships that were quite valuable to me, although I may not have known it at the time. This letter was to one such person.
As I wrote I began to feel that the words I was writing might be only for her eyes. I may not even send it, I am still praying about that. But, if I do, it will remain between her and I.
I don't want to capitalize on the hurt I've caused someone in any way. I found that what I had to say revealed some insights I've had into my character and although I praise God for what he's done in me, getting accolades for that at the expense of someone's privacy, and maybe even their heart, diminishes what I am trying to communicate. That's a revelation for me. I tend to be so open about who I am and what I'm going through that I often over share about my own life. I do believe God can use that but I am seeing now that I must be careful that I am not also sharing details of someone else's life in the process. It is a delicate balance to say the least.
For now, as to this particular letter, I will say this. I was once a friend who should not have been trusted. I pray that is not true of me now. I was once a friend who traded loyalty for temporary acceptance. I hope that I have changed. I used to be no kind of friend at all. When people said, keep your friends close but your enemies closer, I was both. I was someone they either should have kept very close, or detached from altogether. I was Judas. For thirty pieces of silver I betrayed my very best friend, sometimes for even less.
I read through the scene in John 13 today where Jesus washes the disciples feet. It seems from reading the passage that Judas was still present at the table when this took place. We have no reason to believe that Jesus wouldn't have washed his feet along with the others. In just the next few verses he reveals that someone there would betray him. Someone he had served.
So often I have read this passage in the past to mean that I should be serving my brothers and sisters in Christ. That I should be serving those I am disciplining and investing in. It is the example Jesus sets for us in scripture. Serve one another. But, what about those who are not (or not yet) our brothers and sisters? What about those outside our circle, those who are lost and broken and yes, those who are untrustworthy, just a moment away from betraying us?
It seems Jesus would have us serve them too. And we would hope that our love and service to those who might hurt us would change their hearts and turn them towards us. Yet, we see that this was not the case for Jesus and Judas. Judas would go on to betray the very one who served him. Furthermore, Judas would be unable to see that Jesus had wanted to clean him and instead of redemption and reconciliation, Judas would choose destruction. And while Jesus poured water over Judas' dirty and calloused feet, Jesus knew that. And served him anyway.
I've been Judas. To Jesus and to some of the people He has put in my life. And, nonetheless, Jesus has loved me, and served me, and put others in my life to pour out His love on me. I've experienced redemption and renewal in a way that I didn't deserve. Even though I've carelessly tossed aside relationships that Jesus meant for good in my life, He continues to surround me with people who long to love and serve me in the way that He served. I am constantly reminded of how much He loves me by the fact that He refuses to let me live this life without loving relationships no matter how bad I am at being in those relationships.
On the flip side, I've also been hurt. I've experienced the pain of betrayal. Most of us have. As a result, I've read all the books on boundaries and how to "teach" people how to treat me. These things are helpful and I agree that we have to be careful with who we let close to us and especially our children. But, at the same time, I'm wondering, what does this look like if I am in fact called to serve those around me, yes, including those who might betray me? How do I reconcile my instinct to protect myself while loving like Jesus, washing the very feet of the man who would hand Him over to the very people who wanted Him dead? And Jesus did this, knowing that Judas would not accept His love. Where does that leave us?
As someone who's been loved at times when I least deserved it, I long to press on and love anyway, fiercely and unconditionally. As someone who's been hurt, I feel the need to build walls and set strict standards regarding those who can get in. It's a conflict that I must work out with the Holy Spirit if I am to do the will of the One who loves me best, most, even to death. When I read of Jesus washing the disciples feet, not just Judas, but all these men who would deny Him in His darkest hour, I am convinced that I must find a way to love and serve, even when it means I might get hurt.
It all goes back to trust, trust in God. Do I trust Him with my heart? Do I trust Him to repair what's broken when I am wounded by those He's called me to love and serve? Do I trust Him to put in me a love for them much like the love He's put in others for me? Will I knowingly pour out onto those who might not accept what I have to offer, just as Judas turned away from the love of a Savior who came to save him.
I would say that I don't trust like that yet. But, I want to. I will pray that as I move through my relationships I will give all I have, not expecting anything in return other than the opportunity to be like Christ. To love without condition. To serve my betrayers, whomever they may be.
As for my letter, pray for me. I haven't decided whether or not to send it yet. I don't want to open old wounds just so I can share my heart. That would be selfish. I want to be led by the Holy Spirit and send it if I come to believe that the words I've written were meant to heal through the love of Jesus.