Afraid to love?

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Kiss of Judas – Betrayal of Christ

 

 

This painting illustrates the story of Christ’s betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane.

 

This work is linked to Luke 22:48  But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the  Son of man with a kiss?

This painting (Kiss of Judas) by Anthony Van Dyck, then 20 years old, shows the moment Judas betrayes his master by kissing him. That way he pointed out to the Roman soldiers which one in the group was Jesus.

 

 

Friends will betray and enemies will slander, until the lesson is sufficient to exalt you; for man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.  The author has experienced the foregoing prophecy and its blessings.

Mary Baker Eddy

(Science and Health pg.266)

 

Afraid to love?

JANE CLARK WALKER

From the November 4, 1972 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

* Photo – Courtesy of allposters.com

Suppose we have offered love, and not just romantic love. We have cared deeply for someone. It really mattered to us that they were happy, and we contributed to that happiness wherever we could. We trusted them with our most cherished thoughts and hopes. But our love has been brutally rejected or betrayed. We have felt literally kicked out, breathless. What happens next?

If we know anything about Christianity and Christian Science, we know, as we catch our breath, that we can’t afford to be resentful. But, maybe, do we feel that we will be considerably more careful next time about offering love? Do we figure we won’t give quite so freely again because we’d become too vulnerable?

Do we remember sayings about being “wise as serpents,”1 or not casting “your pearls before swine,”2 and think maybe that could mean it would be wise not to care too much, not to offer too freely, so we can’t ever be hurt so badly again?

We all need to love more intelligently and wisely. But if we have decided not to love again at all, we have lost sight of what love really is. God is Love, and man is Love’s expression. Our real love is not a function of response. It does not depend upon what it loves—not for anything.

If it comes from God, then our love can’t be abused, starved, or kicked around, because it is not subject to its object any more than that handy symbol, the sunbeam, is smashed because it is shining on the football that gets kicked.

“Love is of God,”3 as John said. Therefore it is always safe from hurt feelings, always intact, always wise, always proceeding from its divine source. It does not need anything from anybody to be whole and active and satisfied.

The love that we need to love with does not feed upon its object and wither for lack of the nourishment of kind words or a warm response. Strong and undiminished, love has unlimited resources.

If we are viewing love as something that depends upon response, we are doing just what Christ Jesus cautioned his followers against: “For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them… But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”4

Not only is it good to love our enemies, but our love (when it’s reflecting Love) is not really affected at all by how it is received. It is neither starved by enemies nor nourished by friends.

Looking for personal response to nourish our love can lead to a feeling of deprived affections. Mrs. Eddy almost seems to describe this state in Science and Health, when she writes, “Friends will betray and enemies will slander, until the lesson is sufficient to exalt you; for ‘man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.’ ” And she adds, “The author has experienced the foregoing prophecy and its blessings.”5

A lesson to be learned. A blessing. Neither Christ Jesus nor Mrs. Eddy is urging us to do something impossible or grimly cold. They are showing us how to leave the starved affections of a response-oriented sense of love for the warmth and joy of the love which is of God.

Jesus loved Judas. This was certainly not a warm feeling welling up in response to lovable treatment. It was the evidence of divine Love shining forth regardless of human circumstances. It enabled Jesus to see the qualities of good that constitute the man God made, right where a sinful Judas seemed to be. And this loving did not make Jesus vulnerable. Because he loved, Jesus was ultimately invulnerable to harm. A plan to kill him was carried out. He knew all along what the threat was, when it was going to come, and how; but his love never lapsed. And because his love was forever safe from attack, could not be made to wither or withdraw, he showed that his life was safe from attack. He proved that Love, not physicality, was the substance of his being, and that his love was just as indestructible as his life. He was truly “wise as serpents.”

No portion of divine Love can ever be withheld from man. And because it is of God, every bit of our loving can be impartial and all-embracing. This love is not some rosy glow of beneficence that refuses to focus on the needs of the individual. It is caring, discerning, unafraid of being hurt.

Let’s not be afraid to love. Let’s learn how to do it correctly and effectively and abundantly. It is the warmest, happiest, safest thing we can do.

1 Matt. 10:16;

2 7:6;

3 I John 4:7;

4 Luke 6:32, 35;

5 Science and Health, p. 266.