Summary: To share how we need to respond when a friend disappoints us.
Illustration: Living in a small town as many of you know, has its pros and it has its cons. I believe the pros are that you become friends with several people within the community and always see a friendly face. Now this can also weigh in on the cons. knowing everyone, you hear when someone has spoken poorly about you.
Several weeks ago I heard of someone that I considered to be a friend of mine speak very poorly of me to other people in the community. It was truly heart breaking to hear the things that this person said of me to others. To be very honest with each of you, It has really weighed on my mind for some time now.
I believe that every one of us has experienced the pain of betrayal, dishonesty, gossip and hurt from a friend who has failed us. At times we have been that kind of friend to someone else.
So what does God have to say about our response when a friend fails? Since we cannot change the situation or even the person, how can we allow God to change us so that we respond in a way that would please Him?
In our text for this morning, we read of the ultimate betrayal. Jesus is spending the evening with his disciples and He makes a painful statement, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.” The response of the disciples, is overwhelming, “Surely you don’t mean me,” is on the lips of each one of his friends and Peter’s denial of this statement is heard the loudest. “Even if I have to die with You, I will never disown you!” The rest is history isn’t it? Peter not only denied him once, but three times and everyone else ran for their lives when the morning arrived and they came to arrest Jesus.
Jesus’ friends failed him, even as you and I have had friends fail us, so what should be our response when we are faced with the hurt of a friend that has betrayed?
A. First, we need to realize that anyone is capable of failing another, so don’t judge too harshly.
1. No one is perfect, so don’t impose on others what you don’t want imposed upon yourself
2. Peter was so sure, so confident that he would never betray Jesus. And in that moment, in the environment that he was in, he was probably correct, but the moment changed and the environment with it.
3. Peter blew it – no question about it. When Jesus needed him, he was not there. He even cussed and swore and told someone he never knew this Jesus fellow. But that same man, only years later would die a martyr’s death, hanging upside down on a cross, for the friend he once denied.
4. If you and I impose such strict standards for others, then we too shall be held accountable to those standards as well.
5. We must not hold a friend to a higher standard than we hold ourselves.
B. It is important that we leave the judging to God. We are not another person’s judge. We are not even their jury.
1. Why a friend does what he or she does is knowledge we don’t have. No more than why you and I do what we do, is knowledge our friends don’t have.
2. We sometimes criticize others unfairly. We don’t know all their circumstances and motives. Only God, who is aware of all the facts, is able to judge people.
Illustration: John Wesley told of a man he had little respect for because he considered him to be tight with his money and not willing to give freely for the cause of Christ. One day when this person contributed only a small amount Wesley openly criticized him. After the incident, the man went to Wesley privately and told him he had only eaten parsnips and water for several weeks. He explained that before his conversion, he had many debts. Now, by skimping on everything and buying nothing for himself he was paying off his creditors one by one.
The man told Wesley, “Christ has made me an honest man and so with all these debts to pay, I can give only a few offerings above my tithe. I want to settle up with my neighbors and show them what the grace of God can do in the heart of a man who was once dishonest.” Wesley then apologized to the man and asked his forgiveness.
C. Remember, failure, both yours and someone else’s is why Jesus came.
1. Pride always comes before a fall, so never say never. We live in an imperfect world and we are a part of its imperfection.