“Even When We Don’t Want to” (A 70-second read on pressing into courage, selflessness and forgiveness.)

This blog post was prompted by a thought I posted on Facebook this morning:

I’m considering the beauty of Maundy Thursday, Christ’s final hours in His human experience. The Last Supper, the Passover meal. Washing of the feet. Communion. “Final” thoughts and commandments (“maundy” is Latin for “commandment”). Seeking ways to honor these thoughts, and to be present with the miracle.

I am personally dealing with a small matter of betrayal by a colleague.  At first, it felt almost sacrilege to compare my feelings of betrayal to Judas’ actions, the grandest betrayal of all.

But then I realized what I should be doing is comparing my reactions to Christ’s reactions to betrayal.

According to Scripture, Jesus did not focus on the person of Judas.  Instead, He saw the bigger picture.  He saw the consequences, dreaded them, asked God to “take this cup” from Him, and then pressed into purpose with courage and selflessness.

And in His final breath of His human experience, he asked that his betrayers and killers be forgiven “for they know not what they do.”

And so, as I said in my status update above, I am seeking ways to be present with this miracle.  In so doing, I too have considered throwing in the towel.

But now I am considering the bigger picture.  As is so often the case in matters of betrayal, the betrayer is acting out of a place of transference (meaning that psychologically they react to me as a representative of another person in their life, having nothing really to do with me at all [this is the “they-know-not-what-they-do” part]), and from a place of jealousy and competition.

Christ’s example of looking for the bigger picture is extremely powerful and important in this human experience.  Surely we don’t have time for the petty.

Instead, let us press into purpose with courage and selflessness.

And forgiveness.

Even when we don’t want to.

6 Responses to “Even When We Don’t Want to” (A 70-second read on pressing into courage, selflessness and forgiveness.)

  1. Lynne
    April 5, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    The power of forgiveness is real. I know this. You know this. Sometimes we need remembering. As in, do this…… in remembrance of me. Not just wine. Not just bread. But giving thanks in the breaking, the pouring out, the lifting up.

    Do this, in remembrance.

    • April 6, 2012 at 10:45 am

      I like that thought, in remembrance of me transcending the act of Communion alone. Thank you.

  2. April 6, 2012 at 6:44 am

    There is no difficult experience we face that does not find solace in the cross of Christ, for in taking on the sins of the world, he also took on all its pain–betrayals, disdain, rejection, abandonment…the list goes on. And to find the power therein to follow the path you have chosen makes the beauty of this Good Friday all the more profound. Thanks friend.

  3. April 6, 2012 at 10:43 am

    The deep betrayal I experienced through several colleagues was genuinely heart-painful. Now I have something by my bed to remind me of them. Each time I see it, I pray for the Lord to work His character in each one of them. That helps me push through the pain and leaves blessing as a result. Who knows? Maybe they feel I hurt them somehow. Maybe they are praying for me.

    • April 6, 2012 at 11:52 am

      Thank you, Meg. I appreciate this honesty and insight. In my case, it was CLEAR that the betrayal, at the end of the day, had nothing to do with me. The issues of transference and jealousy were clear to all observers. This made it even easier for me to press on, though there are ongoing exchanges for which, thankfully, I seem to have abundant patience and mercy. I will pray the same for you. Isn’t the big picture a happy place to be? Even so, come quickly.

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Nathaniel is CEO of AidChild.org. He holds a Master's Degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University where he was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, and winner of the 2010 Harvard HDP Marshal Award. He also holds a PhD in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego where he was the Dammeyer Fellow in Global Education Leadership, and a Cordes Fellow at Opportunity Collaboration. Nathaniel is author of "We Are Not Mahogany: Three stories about the male African life." Prior to his move to Uganda in 2000, Nathaniel was Deputy Director of the Office of the Governor of Arizona, and Director of Education at Leadership, Inc.

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