Loving despite betrayal

Loving despite betrayal

John 13:21-33, 36-38. One of you will betray me

Looking at the story of Jesus as a narrative of love, the “plot twist” or the “tension” in the story seems to be: can love still reign despite betrayal?

In a sense, betrayal is heartache of heartaches, and it can be construed as the other end of the spectrum when we talk about faith, love, and trust. In the face of suffering and multiple forms of betrayal throughout the Old and New Testament, we get to appreciate the many faces of love — charity, justice, mercy, and so on.

If we view the Bible as a love story depicted in many contexts, we get to appreciate love’s multiple manifestations. It can be an initial impulse or feeling. It can be a solution to break the cycle of generational revenge. It may be hard to understand in a context like Job’s, where his inquiry both challenges and deepens his love for God. It can also be God Incarnate, manifested through Jesus being both God and human.

In a sense, the new commandment of love is a great way to live a life filled with uncertainty and fallibility. Humans have inherent limits, and the concept of love can both simplify how to live life yet provide the most profound meaning. Love requires creativity — how can we still “love” our enemies and our betrayers? How can we still dignify them as persons? We will have to undertake our own journey with love as a sort of “general guiding framework”. We’ll have to pay attention to our experiences, intelligently gain insights on how we apprehend love in our own context, and judge in complex situations how love can reign supreme despite all the the sin that surrounds us.

Personally, even if the next generation of scholars, philosophers, and theologians somehow prove that Jesus is not God, it will not really matter to me. If the resurrection turns out to be fiction, does it really change the moral and message of the gospels and the parables? It’s only through faith and divine revelation that we can get a transcendent understanding of God and the divine.

But in a pragmatic and real-life sense, Jesus the human seems to sufficiently provide a “blueprint” of how to live a life of love despite sin, despite heartbreak, and despite betrayal.


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