I get that I may be starting to come off like a dog with a bone or a prosperity preacher with a mega-donor. To those that do not see the importance of getting to the root of this issue and fleshing it out, it may even seem like a waste of time. No, this is not about me being right about anything. In fact, I hope I’m wrong, but too many people have their hearts set on something that is demonstrably unbiblical, and once the oxygen is sucked out of that particular fairy tale, all you’ll have is bluish skin and difficulty breathing.
I’ve never been betrayed by a stranger. I’d wager you haven’t, either. It wasn’t the guy selling falafels and fresh goat milk that betrayed Jesus; it was Judas, one of His disciples. Simply put, betrayal is the violation of a person’s trust or confidence. Hence, the reason no one’s ever been betrayed by a stranger.
To be betrayed by someone, you must first let them into your confidence, your inner circle. You must know them well enough to trust them, and they, in turn, must knowingly, methodically, with cold, clinical premeditation, thrust the dagger into your back to the hilt while staring you in the eyes, remove it swiftly, and thrust again and again and again.
It’s always for some petty reason too. Whatever their thirty pieces of silver happen to be, that is the price of betrayal, and they have no qualms about cashing the check. For me, it was always people trying to take what God entrusted me to oversee. If a dumpy immigrant from a third-world country could make a go of running a successful ministry, think how well they’d do.
I’ve been called jaded, cynical, aloof, cold, and distant because I refuse to coddle fully grown adults and feed their illusions. I may be all those things, but if I gave you a rundown of my years in ministry and how many times I embraced a brother only to find a knife firmly lodged in my back, you’d understand why I was a little skittish. At least none of them tried to kiss me on the cheek. I guess they figured it would be a tell, and I’d intuit something was up.
That’s why betrayal hurts as much as it does because it’s always someone you trusted and invested time in. Maybe someday I’ll tell you some stories. For now, trust me when I tell you that of all the things you will have to endure during the last days, the betrayal will hurt the most. It’s like an open wound that someone kicks sand into, soaks in lemon juice, then washes in salt brine.
You go from wanting vengeance to blaming yourself for not seeing the individual for what they were, to wondering if it’s worth the headache, to being alone with God for long stretches just to get your heart right again.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe all the super-Christians will breeze right through it, and I just didn’t have the mettle to rub some dirt on it and pretend as though it never happened.
Matthew 24:10, “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”
Another thing I can’t shake is that it won’t be a handful of disenchanted souls; it will be many who will be offended, will betray, and hate. How many are many? That is the question, isn’t it? Half, three quarters? Less? More?
Jesus isn’t talking about the world betraying and hating you, at least not in this verse. It’s people you now call brother and sister that will be offended, will betray you, and will hate you. Why? Maybe you stood when they fell. Perhaps you both stumbled, but you got back up. Maybe they took the easy way and presented their forehead or their hand because their spiritual authority told them it was akin to a temporary tattoo the kids like so much.
My grandpa used to tell stories of being beaten during interrogations. The most brutal of the lot were former Christians who had snapped under the pressure and denied Christ. Former believers, men for whom suffering in the flesh was just too much to handle, were the cruelest of all toward those who remained faithful to Christ. Hate makes monsters of men, and a monster’s only desire is to make others share in their misery.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.
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