For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born! (Matt 26:24)
Betrayal is a horrible act. It affects its victim terribly, but beyond that, as Christ saw it, the betrayer’s sentence is far worse. In Judas’s case, he eventually hung himself (Acts 1:18).
The wounds of betrayal can also multiply and defile others. Initially, the wounds are delivered to one individual, in time they do their subtle work and seek to destroy many. There are times when betrayal can create so deep a wound that you begin to believe the bleeding will never end, the cut will never close, and the pain will never cease. But more excruciating than that, is when those among you become nearsighted to the damage being done and soon become victims to the hellish crime of betrayal. In King David’s day, Absolom strategically betrayed his father and many others (victims) were persuaded, deceived, and lost to the demise. The scripture says, “Soon many others also joined Absalom, and the conspiracy was strong and gained momentum” (2 Sam 15:12).
How could David have ever forgiven Absolom of his dual act against the kingdom? Initially, David would have to find a place within his heart to forgive Absolom of the personal pain that was inflicted. But beyond that, David would have to further deal with the multiplied anguish of losing other key people to the treachery of the betrayal as well. How would David accomplish this? And if he could, why would he take on such a large challenge in the first place?
It has been said that, “The pen is mightier than the sword”. Often times, we get to experience the positive side of that. Occasionally God will rise up an author that speaks so sharply into your life that heaven’s voice seems to flutter off the pages as you turn them.
R.T. Kendell is that type of writer. He was the pastor of the famous Westminster Chapel in London England for twenty five years. Nearly seventy five year’s old, he has written over 30 books to date. One of his most recent works, Total Forgiveness has become a bestseller. In the chapter, How to Forgive Totally, R.T. Kendell defines what a true enemy is. Of course, many believers might doubt the authenticity of real enemies in the life of a Christian. But R.T. Kendell’s experience and calling allows him to trump that kind of fairytale non-sense and clearly expose the real truth concerning the subject.
First he cites one of the beatitudes,
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).
He then states,
“If you have a real, relentless, genuine enemy – someone who is not a figment of your anxiety or imagination – you should see yourself as sitting on a mine of twenty-four karat gold. Not everyone is that blessed. But if you have been blessed in that way, take it with both hands. You should take this person’s picture, enlarge it, frame it and thank God every time you look at it”.
He then defines what a true enemy is.
“It is a person who either wants to harm you or would say something about you so as to call your credibility or integrity into question. They would rejoice at your downfall or lack of success. They would not pray that God would bless and prosper you, but instead would sincerely hope that God would bring you down … an enemy is also a person who will take unfair advantage of you; they will ‘despitefully use you’ (Matthew 5:44). If they know you place vengeance in God’s hands rather than your own, instead of respecting this they will exploit it all the more – knowing you will not retaliate … they may say libelous things in print because they know you will not sue. The Greek word ‘persecute’ simply means to follow or to pursue. Enemies will pursue you because they are obsessed with you. King Saul became jealous of David … what is more, if they are Christians they may deceive themselves into thinking they are doing it for God and for His glory! When you have totally forgiven this type of enemy, you have crossed over into the supernatural realm … you have made it into the Big Leagues”.
What a great confirmation this is for anyone who has had to face the wicked tongue of a heartless enemy. The promise that R.T. gives us is unsurpassed – forgive this type of enemy and the anointing, as he says, is among the “highest level of spirituality that exists”.
This was the motive that was alive inside of King David … this was the incentive he had to forgive his “Judas Iscariot”. When he did forgive, David’s anointing increased and the kingdom prevailed with greater measure over the darkness that existed once before.