Where You Are Standing Matters

There's not much that's worse than being betrayed by a friend.  I've had my fair share of those experiences over the course of my life in ministry.  

Perhaps none of them hurt so much as the ones that take me completely by surprise--the friend that I defended from attack... the one I poured my life into... was loyal to... the one I would have never dreamed would stab me in the back.  

Those kinds of betrayals are like a kick in the stomach and can leave you questioning everything you thought about who you are.  

As I think now about how I've felt in those moments of betrayal, my thoughts turn to Jesus and what it must have been like for him to experience the betrayal, denial, and abandonment of his disciples--his friends.  

Scripture indicates that he knew this was going to happen.  He knew that they would flee, that one of them would betray him, that Peter would deny him.  He knew all this long before he experienced it, but I am sure that it wounded him to his very soul when it all came to pass.  

Barbara Brown Taylor writes about this very thing when she describes Judas as standing on the side of the "weapons and handcuffs" in the Garden of Gethsemane.  

She describes Peter as standing outside the house where Jesus is being tried saying things like, "We weren't friends exactly... we just worked together... My desk was near his... I don't really know him at all."  

And then my thoughts turn to how so many of us do the same, each and every day.  

We have no problem pledging our loyalty to Jesus when everything is going as planned, but as soon as our plans are thwarted, we feel we're not getting our due, or when whatever it is that we are being called to do in order to fully follow Jesus is too uncomfortable for us, we often find ourselves standing farther and farther away from him.  

Taylor writes, this: 
There are a thousand ways to kill him, some of them as obvious as choosing where you will stand when the showdown between the weak and the strong comes along, others of them as subtle as keeping your mouth shut when someone asks if you know him.
May you make the choice today and every day forward to step forward in courage when Jesus' beckons you to follow him--even if where you are being asked to go is uncomfortable.  May you find strength in knowing that the greatest expression of friendship with Christ is simply to stand near him and live more like him.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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