How many friends do you have? We sometimes measure ourselves by the number of friends we can count. Some of us have numerous friends, especially with the advent of social media. Others find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum with very few people they can call "friend". In fact, some of us artificially place so many restrictions on who can be a friend that we actually keep everyone out. Determining which end of the spectrum is correct is not a matter for me to judge but for you to know what is right for you.
Sometime during the course of our lives, we run across a speed bump with our friendships. Sooner or later, someone who we thought was our friend, maybe even a close friend, ends up doing something to betray our friendship. In most cases, we are caught off-guard and feel deeply hurt that someone that close could conduct such an act of betrayal. Have you ever experienced an event like this? What did you do about it? Did you push away everyone else who wanted to be close to you?
It may comfort you to know that the same issue faced Jesus. One of His disciples, who had been following Him for three years and saw all of the miracles He did and the lives He changed, still betrayed Him. This disciple, personally selected by Jesus, turned out to be the rotten apple in the bunch. One account in the Bible refers to Judas as a thief who always took money from the ministry. Fortunately, Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas would betray Him and turn Him over to be crucified. Even though He knew what was happening, He did not let His situation diminish His capacity to love. Jesus kept His heart open to all that were in need and He willingly paid the ultimate price so that everyone could have the chance for eternal life with Him. What a love! If Jesus could continue to open His heart to mankind, knowing the illicit thoughts and selfish intentions in the hearts of mankind, we should try to emulate that love to those who are around us. In fact, we should heed Jesus' words to "love thy neighbor".
Have past instances of hurt or betrayal prevented you from "loving your neighbor"? It's okay to be cautious but some of us build walls between us and others that are as thick as the walls of Jericho! We need to learn how to receive the love of Jesus so that our "wounds" can be healed and then share that love with others. If you don't know how to begin the healing process, ask the Lord to show you. You should also open the Bible and begin reading about His healing love. Before you know it, you will begin to notice subtle changes in your life that will start you on your healing journey. Don't give up after one day or one week, continue to seek Lord regarding your "walls of Jericho" to ensure they all come down.
Finally, please remember that you can contact our church for guidance and support. Via email, connect with us through the firstname.lastname@example.org address or visit us for Sunday morning services at 10 a.m.