In ministry we will have people who let us down or disappoint us in some way. We might also experience betrayal, false accusations, or other hard-to-take acts against us. How do we react? What is our attitude toward them? How do we treat them?
As I was reading John 13:1-11 in some personal time with the Lord, I noticed bookends to a well-known story about Jesus.
The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. …
For he (Jesus) knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
I believe these verses are significantly placed in the context of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. Jesus knew Judas was going to betray Him but He washed His feet anyway. He humbled Himself in this act of service not only for those who would ultimately remain faithful and true to Him, some of whom would die as martyrs for Jesus, but also for the one who would betray Him.
I am reminded of Jesus’ teaching:
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Lk. 6:27-28)
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. (Lk. 6:32-33)
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Lk. 6:35-36)
Even while hanging on the cross, Jesus extended grace to His enemies, saying “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34).
Jesus, “for the joy set before him endured the cross.” “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Heb. 12:2-3)
Jesus knew there was a bigger picture and committed Himself to the Father to take care of Him which is why He could serve the one he knew would betray Him.
Aren’t you glad we don’t usually know in advance when someone will do us wrong? We would probably have an even greater struggle with our attitude toward them. Not Jesus! He still did good. He maintained perspective.
If you find maintaining perspective difficult, perhaps the 40 Day Challenge to Maintaining a Healthy Perspective will help. These are pillars of truth you need to cling to in order to maintain a good attitude toward those who do you wrong. (Feel free to copy the 40 Day Challenge page from the link above for your own use or to give to others who might be helped by it.)