Et tu brutus? The phrase we all used jokingly with friends for pulling a prank on us and I guess this is the only piece of literature everyone remembers of Shakespeare. And then we have Judas Iscariot and the infamous kiss, the kiss of death - the name that has become synonymous with betrayal. Pause for a minute and think of the aftermath of both these instances. The chill that delves down the spine. What it must have been like to have been betrayed by someone we love. It could be a friend, a confidante or a lover. The pain is as real as one caused by a knife stuck right in the middle of the chest, when every breath of air taken makes living as painful as death. Such is the cruelty of being betrayed. What happens next is the test of true love and kindness.
Most of us have been through this path, at least once in our life. And I’m pretty sure we can relate to words like stab, pain, broken trust, forgiveness and then there are the new age idealists who come out with the most intelligent quotes that appear to be wisdom in a nutshell but in effect doesn’t apply a soothing balm to a broken heart. To love and be loved is the greatest feeling ever and to feel like you have lost it all is the greatest loss ever. But the choice to make it or break it is ours to make.

The first reaction and the most natural thing to feel is anger and the will to lash out. As frail human beings with a heart so vulnerable, the pain makes it impossible to think beyond what we see right then. But our next few steps could mark the most important walk of our lives. What we do with the hurt and pain? Who do we turn to? Of course we have friends and family in some cases. They love us for everything we are and give us the best advice, keeping in mind our well-being. But to a broken heart, nothing sensible makes enough sense and logic is the devil of the hour. Avenging ourselves seems to be the right thing to do. Giving the other person a taste of their own medicine seems to be obvious next, and believe me the world would laud you for it. In reality what we do by way of vengeance will further the pain and healing process. Vengeance does not mean justice, and our understanding of justice is definitely not God-standard.

The best thing to do is leave it in God’s hands. There is no one better to understand our pain than Jesus Himself. No human being can ever fully understand what another heart feels. When Jesus hung on the cross torn and naked, what appeared on the outside was pretty much the condition of His heart – totally ripped, naked and violated by all means. He knew exactly what it meant to be betrayed and given up to die the most shameful death ever. It was love that nailed Him to the cross and held Him there. He died to bring forgiveness and eternal life to lost humanity.

I believe it is impossible to forgive, if we haven’t experienced this forgiveness ourselves. The love that set us free from ourselves, is the only hope in times of hurt and pain caused by betrayal. The grace that called us into eternal hope and embraced us while we were still clothed in rags and filth is the only door that could open our hearts into peace and quiet. The prodigal father ran and fell on the neck of his son, the one whom he never stopped looking for. He kissed him ceaselessly while he was yet to ask for forgiveness. This is redeeming love.

It makes it difficult to forgive and let go if we have not tasted this love. The truth is, we all experience this love everyday of our lives, not recognizing it most of the times. If we could pause for a moment and draw strength from this heart of God, we could extend our hand in forgiveness and compassion. Love always nudges the heart; it makes living in sin and ignorance impossible. Recipients of such a love can’t exist in their state of rebellion.

Imagine what would have become of us if Jesus reacted in anger or frustration! We would be rotten and gone by now. His love shone a ray of hope into our otherwise hopeless lives. The truest expression of love is forgiveness and we enjoy this freedom in Christ. May we draw strength and courage from this generous heart of god and replicate what has been enacted in our lives.
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. Proverbs 17: 10