Have you been like Judas?
We’re officially in Holy Week and quickly approaching Easter. As we continue to prepare for Our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, I’ve been reading different meditations and doing a lot of reflecting. My sister recently shared a meditation on Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. What really struck me was how confusing it it can be to see someone who loved Jesus and who closely followed him end up betraying him. I immediately thought of couples I work with who can relate to the pain and confusion of betrayal in their marriages.
Even though the relationship between Jesus and Judas and a husband and wife is different, there are some similarities. Judas was chosen to be one of the twelve of Jesus’ disciples - Jesus chose Judas. Judas also chose Jesus - out of love, out of friendship, out of Truth, out of awe and amazement for all the good works He was doing. There was reciprocal love and commitment to one another. This is true also for most married couples. Both partners chose each other, they chose to love one another and to commit to one another. So in the end, to hear of a betrayal, it’s confusing and sad.
Before you start assuming that none of this applies to you, let’s look a little deeper. There are many different faces of betrayal. Oftentimes we think of infidelity, which certainly fits the bill, but this isn’t the only example of betrayal. One definition according to dictionary.com is “failure to keep or honor a promise, principle, cherished memory, etc”. Some specific examples of betrayal are opening up and sharing more with a friend or family member and not your spouse, the use of pornography, hiding money or a drinking problem, or talking negatively about your spouse to someone else. Generally, how many times have we betrayed our partner in failing to honor our vows of loving them through better or worse? On our wedding day, we promise to love our partner unconditionally until death do us part. Anything short of this is a betrayal! I can humbly say I have not always lived up to this promise.
So how do couples get to this place of dishonoring their vows and betraying their partners? They stop nurturing their relationship. They stop talking. They stop taking opportunities to connect and bond. They stop making their relationship a priority. They fail to see the cycles of disconnect. Or maybe they see and feel the disconnect and dismiss it as “normal” or just part of this stage in life. They turn outward to cope with this disconnect and distance - to alcohol, to work, to another person.
What do you do when you’re feeling a sense of betrayal in your relationship? Or when you’ve been the one who has betrayed? Again looking at Judas, we can see what not to do. We don’t hide in shame or fear, we don’t pull away, we don’t give up. We lean in, we turn towards, we share. We share our hurt or our sorrow. We ask for change or for forgiveness. We work towards healing and reconnecting. Even in the face of betrayal, we strive to be Christ-like, showing love and mercy along the way.
As we are disciples of Jesus, the same is true of our relationship with Him. If we’re not working on moving closer in love and commitment, we’re falling further away from Him. We can’t remain stagnant in any relationship and assume it’ll remain positive. With Easter right around the corner, let us ask our partners and God for forgiveness for the times we have betrayed them and work on reestablishing or strengthening our connection with them.
Praying you all have a blessed and joyful Easter!