Every one needs to be loved and accepted. We all do. It is the most basic human need. It is what we are. It is fundamental to our nature and our identity. We all need to be accepted. Things go badly wrong when we are not. Our whole outlook goes awry. Our motivations can become malicious and twisted. We become part of the problem instead of part of the solution:
LOVE ONE ANOTHER
How many problems start from the failure to recognise this fundamental truth and need? Perhaps all ! The whole gamut of relationships from our own family and friends right through to politics suffer this same problem. Betrayal.
It starts when there is a conflict of interest. The desire or love of someone or something becomes greater than your love for a particular person.
The obvious relationship is marriage. Where marriages fail, the problems mount without resolution and eventually one or the other does something to betray the trust of their partner. Perhaps a sport or a hobby become more important; sometimes someone else becomes more important and displaces the spouse in the affections of the other. The trust and depth of relationship which belongs to the spouse is placed elsewhere. A person is betrayed. All their inner dependence on another becomes turmoil and pain instead of comfort and love.
All that was wonderful and amazing becomes pain and torment and anxiety. It becomes perhaps the worst emotional state we can endure.
Yet Jesus Christ accepted deep and intense betrayal from those closest to him. Not just betrayal of their relationship, but betrayal leading to his torture and death on a cross. He did not criticise or hit back. He did not return the same. He accepted it all, knowing the superior plan and purpose of God.
He was betrayed by Judas for 30 pieces of silver to those whom Judas knew hated Jesus enough to kill him. He was denied by Peter who feared for his own life. We have reached chapter 14 in our study of Mark. A chapter of betrayal and false accusation.
Judas betrayed Jesus for petty, material gain. Peter denied him from fear for himself. Love of things, and love of self betrayed Jesus. They still do.
Jesus warned against the desire for the things of this world. And he warned against loving self more than loving him.
Both are a mistake. Both arise from the failure to realise that the obligation to love is greater than any other obligation.
In marriage, our obligation to our spouse is above and beyond all other commitments: that means commitment of loyalty, of time, of attention, of care. Nothing else must detract from that single most important relationship. To allow it to do so is to betray our marriage covenant.
But nothing must detract from commitment to Christ either. Indeed this relationship is so important that it underpins and supports all that God expects in our other relationships, especially in marriage.
God honours our commitment.
Let us honour him.