Day 5

Making Room for Your Betrayers

Exodus 23:4-5, Matthew 18:15-20, Luke 6:27-36, John 18:15-18, John 21:15-19, Colossians 3:12-13

BY Lore Ferguson Wilbert

This is a true story.

I invited my enemy to dinner on purpose. There was no applause or great relief or gratefulness on her part. After all, she didn’t know she was my enemy. She didn’t know the words she’d said about me had made their way back to my ears. She didn’t know how wounded I’d felt by her piercing remarks about my life, my home, my personality, and my portion.

She didn’t know God had set that table for me in the presence of my enemy. And so, she enjoyed my wine and my bread, my Brussels sprouts with bacon, my perfectly roasted pork tenderloin, and my chocolate brownies, still gooey from the oven and topped with a small dollop of ice cream. She ate it all up and still left my enemy. Months later, more of her words made their way back to me, and I planned another dinner, determined to win her affections, her heart, her repentance, or at least the absence of her criticism.

This is a true story, of sorts, but not entirely the way I’ve told it to you. The truer story is that I was the enemy and God was my ever-present and gracious host. Again and again, He laid the feast before me, knowing the wounds of words like mine. Yet He invited me back again, and again, and again. This is the God who loves us.

I have often thought about the small verse that follows Peter’s first denial: “Now the servants and the officials had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold. They were standing there warming themselves, and Peter was standing with them, warming himself” (John 18:18).

I think, here was Peter, denying Christ and warming himself by a fire God created. But Peter was not just denying his relationship with Christ. In a way, he was also denying Christ’s divinity. He partook of the hospitality of God in the common grace of warmth on a cold night and then left the fire as if he were God’s enemy.

We are no different.

There are books aplenty with ideas for dinner parties and table settings, inspirational images and four-course meal plans, but there is no recipe for showing hospitality to those who have cursed you, except one: the imitation of God. With unimaginable hospitality, God creates a feast, and invites all the world—His own creation—to partake of it. He does so in the face of our repeated wrongs done against Him.

Our gracious God invites His enemies to warm themselves by the fire. He spreads out a table in their presence (Psalm 23:5). He rescues the oxen of those who hate Him (Exodus 23:4–5). He blesses those who curse Him (Luke 6:28)—and on and on. His hospitality knows no bounds.

The story I began with is true of me, and it’s true of you too; we were enemies of God (Romans 5:10). But the story is also true in other ways. There are those who have gossiped about me, who have slandered and cursed and wronged me. Yet God invites me to imitate Him. The world says to stop offering grace, to withhold good until it’s deserved. But the gospel saves the best wine for last, and it sets an even finer spread than each and every time before.

Post Comments (148)

148 thoughts on "Making Room for Your Betrayers"

  1. Kathy Norris says:

    I have learned the best way to get over a person’s harsh words or treatment is to pray that God would bless them. Every time the hurt comes to mind cancel it out with a blessing for them.

  2. Monica Davis says:

    Good god!

  3. Audra HavemanButler says:

    I am a betrayer and His mercy and grace are forever extended to me… thank you, Father, for loving me unconditionally! And always making a place for me! Oh, God, may i follow your steps with people in my life who have hurt me…

  4. Cassie Schneider says:

    There’s a relationship in my life that I have been struggling with for a few years. This is an encouraging reminder of what the best approach is to handle it.

  5. Melissa Skelley says:

    This is the lesson I’ve really struggled with and for years it’s an issue that’s been looming large, like a huge, dark cloud over my head. Anger constantly bubbles over – it’s self-righteous anger and it’s prideful. It comes from judgement too. Deep down, I want to hear that making room for my betrayer can also mean setting boundaries. That endless forgiveness is not necessary. I’m praying that God can shine a light and that He will open my eyes and my heart.

  6. Caitlin C says:

    Hi everyone. Because of people betraying me in previous job I was forced to quit without another job lined up for me. Can I ask for your prayers that the Lord provides for me in this time without work and that he provides a new job for me? Thank you all ❤️

  7. Kelly says:

    This is by far the hardest lesson to learn. When someone rips out your heart and stomps all over it, they may not be EXACTLY your enemy, but they sure did betray you and that is where I am right now. I do not know if there will ever be reconciliation, if the person will ever change, ever stop hurting me, but God has called me to pray for them and forgive. And forgive and forgive and forgive.

  8. Steph C says:

    “Bless those who curse you”. It seems so innocuous in print. But it’s so hard. It’s not asking me to paste a smile on my face and say “no problem”. Jesus is telling me to genuinely forgive and love someone who has hurt me deeply. Because I hurt Him infinitely more deeply. And He has forgiven me. And shown me mercy, love, and grace. Following His example. Giving as He gave. This is real, rubber-meets-the-road forgiveness! I am so thankful to be on the receiving end. Lord, give me grace to dispense it freely too!

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