How Long Will God Continue to Forgive?

Love and betrayal

“Where are they coming from? Where are they going?” He frantically searched with bewilderment, but couldn’t find where the ants were coming from. They were crawling in and out of his laptop computer from every conceivable location. Surprised by this intrusion, he continued his search to figure out where they were coming from.

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Matthew was a very careful user of his computer. A few months prior to this incident, he experienced “the mother of all computer disasters” – a crashed hard disk, with no warning signs. After going through the long process of getting it repaired under warranty, this intrusion by the ants was totally unexpected, and brought further fears of an impending disaster.

 Surprise turns to fear

When he finally found the hiding place of the encroachers, his surprise turned to fear. The computer case, of all places, meant to protect his computer from such intrusions became the home for these ants! I’m sure he felt cheated and betrayed by the very instrument meant to protect his computer.

 First class betrayal

Often, those who should protect, are the ones who deny and hurt. Jesus experienced a similar scenario when he was betrayed by one of his 12 disciples. While he was on the Mount of Olives praying with them, Judas came to betray him into the hands of his enemies. Jesus said, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48) Our closest friends are the ones we least expect to betray us, yet Jesus knew Judas’ plans much in advance.

Throughout the four gospels, we see the love of Jesus expressed in various ways. Second only to the Cross, was his prayer for his disciples in John 17. He distinguished his disciples from the rest of the world; for they belonged to the Father. He protected them and kept them safe by the name given to him by the Father. He wanted them to have joy to the fullest measure. The culmination of his prayer was his desire to see the love of the Father in them, and that Jesus be in them. Such close love and union was his desire for his disciples.

It was immediately after prayer, that Judas came to betray him with a kiss. This reminds me of Michael Card’s song that says, “why did he use a kiss to show them -that’s not what a kiss is for.” After experiencing a relationship with Jesus closer than most of the people, he was willing to betray him with a kiss.

 How much will God forgive?

At the cross, he showed his love for all people, including his enemies, when he says, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34). Could this prayer apply for Judas also? Why not? Are there limits to the love of Jesus?

 Does God still love me?

Many continue to struggle with their failures and weaknesses. Somehow they are afraid that there is no longer any possibility for God to love them. They fear that they have crossed the point of no return with God. But the reality is that God is not angry at you. He still loves you. His ultimate aim is to develop you into the image of his son Jesus.

 So, go to him. He loves you.

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