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 (166)

166 thoughts on "Making Room for Your Betrayers"

  1. Anneliese Peterson says:

    So good and timely. We have someone in our life who has been continually slandering us and being unkind. Tonight this person is coming over. Praying for healing. Praying for restoration. Praying for us to walk in forgiveness because we have been forgiven of much.

  2. Gayle Radavich says:

    Help me be like You Jesus!! Put on love ❤️!!!

  3. Irene Cedillo says:

    This is such a good reminder! The enemy tries to skew THE truth.

  4. Irene Cedillo says:

    This is a hard truth for me to swallow and it’s an every day thing I have to battle as I am reminded to be more like our savior Jesus Christ. Thank you Father for your renewed grace each morning and gentle redirection!

  5. Sarah Gorton says:

    Not sure if anyone is still reading this devotional, but I wanted to share something that was very enlightening in my life, my work as a nurse, my marriage, and my friendships. This verse in Ephesians completely broke the mindset I had, and at times continue to have, in certain situations where I think the enemy is the person when in the Word it says otherwise. Ephesians 6:12 says “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This verse literally means that when there is tension it’s not me or you causing it, it’s a thought rooted in a lie that you, me, or we are believing that is causing a disconnect or hardening of heart preventing us from hearing or understanding the Truth in the situation. The Truth that the root of that lie is preventing you from seeing is that God is love; you are loved, valued, and cared for by God; and we actually really love, care, and value one another or desire to in our heart cause that is who God is and how our loving God created us-“to love one another as God has loved us.” By the Spirit, who lives in your heart, you will come into the understanding of the Truth and how to intentionally wield the truth to see everyone as your brothers and sisters in Christ and treat them as such.

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