Posted on | January 15, 2013 | 1 Comment
There’s a scene from the 1988 movie Shoot To Kill that still makes my blood run cold. Maybe you remember the movie, it starred Sidney Poitier and Tom Berringer, and it was about their search for a jewel thief who murdered his victims. During one scene in the movie there’s a group of backpackers hiking in the wilderness on a flyfishing trip. You and I as viewers know that one of the fishermen is the killer, but we don’t know which one, so we wait in suspense. The particular scene I’m talking about is where the group is hiking along a narrow trail on the edge of a steep ravine that’s a 100 yard fall into the river below. As the backpackers carefully choose their steps along the narrow trail—-the viewer wondering which of the hikers is the bad guy—-suddenly one of the hikers starts pushing the others over the cliff. The look of betrayal in the eyes of one of the backbackers as he stares in disbelief at the bad guy makes my blood run cold every time I see the move.
There’s something about betrayal that enrages us. After all you never hear of a new baby being named Judas Iscariot or Benedict Arnold. Unfortunately betrayal isn’t just something we see in the movies. There are betrayals that we experience in our life journey that really makes us wonder and ask the question, why? why did he/she do that?.
Here is a story I heard from a preacher:
Let me tell share with you about a man who used to be a member of a very successful church back in the late 1970s named “Joe”. He was a gifted musician and speaker, and he was highly involved in ministry during the early years of that church. “Joe” wrote music, he led church in worship, and he and his family were part of the church family. His musical gifts didn’t go unnoticed, and eventually a Christian music producer contracted him to compose a children’s musical. But “Joe” never finished that musical, because while he sat where everyone sat, led them in worship, traveled to other churches speaking and preaching, inward doubts were building. Finally “Joe” concluded that God was not real at all, in his own words, “I discovered that there is no basis for believing that a God exists.” By 1983 “Joe” had to admit to himself and to his friends that he was an atheist. He joined the atheist movement, he wrote a letter to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin explaining why he was no longer a Christian, he went onto the Phil Donahue show to encourage others to leave the Christian faith, and eventually he wrote a book.
Now think about “Joe’s” story. He sat where you sit, he sang what you sing, he read what you read in the Bible, he heard what you hear. He looked and acted, sang and spoke like a devoted followers of Jesus Christ, yet one day he threw it all away, rejected every last part…Betrayed his church and his Christian brothers and sisters.
Making sense of Betrayal…
How can we make sense out of the “Joe’s” we meet in life, how can we make sense out of spiritual betrayal? Today we’re going to look at how to make sense out of betrayal, specially spiritual one.
1. I want you to know that even though it hurts, we shouldn’t be too surprised at spiritual betrayal because it’s a sign of the times in which we live.
Spiritual betrayal is not something novel or new, but it’s part and parcel with life in the last hour, life between Christ’s first and second comings. We can read plenty of this warnings in the Bible and how those writings has been given us to try to soften the sting by reminding us that we are living in such a time when these things does happen.
2. I want you to use the opportunity to evaluate the direction of your own journey.
When someone else abandons the Christian journey that’s a great time to do a little evaluation of your own spiritual progress. Do you need to make some mid-course corrections? What may seem just a little bit off now will grow more and more significant the longer you go, just a few degrees off can mean the difference between arriving at your destination or getting hopelessly lost.
Now all of this isn’t to suggest that spiritual betrayal is no big deal. When someone we love and trust walks away from us it can devastate us. Just this last week I read of a story told about a student at a major university in Southern California who was raised in the church–his dad’s an elder at their church–and after taking a philosophy class this young man has announced to his family that he’s an atheist now. Those parents are devastated, as well as that young man’s home church, they’re torturing themselves with questions about what they did wrong. Spiritual betrayal is painful, if it wasn’t it wouldn’t be betrayal.
Spiritual betrayal can devastate those who are left behind. Some of you might still be hurting decades later from a “Joe’s” type spiritual betrayal. You keep thinking how you trusted him, you prayed together, he led you in worship, he worked with your children in ministry. I want you to know that even though it hurts, we shouldn’t be too surprised at spiritual betrayal because it’s a sign of the times in which we live, and I want you to use the opportunity to evaluate the direction of our own spiritual journey.
When you feel betrayed…
a. Look toward the reason of your hope.
b. Be vigilant, not only of others but also of your own life journey.
c. Be strong and of courage. For the one who lives within you will be strong in you today.
Remember, even the one person who has no sin, was betrayed to his face.