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Jesus discreetly revealed at the Last Supper who it was that would betray him. After agonizing prayer at the garden of Gethsemane, the soldiers came to take him. As Judas greeted him with the betrayal kiss, Jesus said to him (KJV), “friend, wherefore art thou come?” (NKJV) (“Friend, why have you come?) It was a rhetorical question since Jesus already knew the reason. The remarkable thing is that Jesus still called him a friend. He held no animosity toward Judas.

Jesus calls Himself “friend” to us regardless of our faithfulness or lack thereof. There have been reports of Jesus appearing to young Muslims who recognize His divinity but do not know his identity. When they ask his name, His reply is, “call me Friend.”

It can hurt us deeply when someone we know very well betrays us, maligns us, gossips about us, or abuses us. Are you able to respond kindly just as Jesus did toward Judas? In Matthew 5:44 (NKJV) Jesus said, “…love your enemies, bless those who curse you (or gossip), do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you..” Jesus’ number one commandment is to “love,” not just your “loved ones” but everyone, friend or foe. When you wrap yourself in His love, you can honestly (not hypocritically) call everyone “friend.”

Our deepest hurts tend to come from those closest to us. It may be a trusted friend. It may be a family member, even one who should be protecting us rather than abusing us. Our (Matt. 5:44) response is this: love them, do good to them, pray for them, and call them “friend.” If it is difficult, ask for Jesus’ help. 

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