I wish I could remember where I heard this. But it is worth repeating for those of you who know what real pain feels like. A televangelist, who shall remain anonymous, reminded me of the real powerful nature of words that sometimes strike at your very core. He said, in order for someone to really hurt you, he or she has to be close enough to you to kiss you. Whoa! Now this immediately made me sit up and take notice as it should you. Beyond the biblical reference about Jesus and Judas, this is a pretty dynamic point of which people of faith should take note. Real pain comes from people and circumstances and issues that you really, really care about.

Life does not always encourage you to live with your guard down. But each of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, has done just that when we feel safe with those around us. It is that vulnerability that gives the kiss of death the power to crush your very being. There is no pain like unexpected pain deliberately aimed at you when you’re not looking.

I find it ironic that as Christians we are supposed to reveal to the external world our internal souls. Those who see us should indeed see who we are and whose we are. It’s a very public declaration and then, by how we live our lives, the world should know we belong to God. Irony might not be the best word to describe my example, but remember the ultimate kiss is the kiss of betrayal. The difference between you, me and Christ however, is that Christ knew it was coming. As a matter of fact, not only did He know it was coming, Christ needed it to fulfill His divine mission. It was a kiss that was part of a plan that saved the world. “He [Judas] approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him ’Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’” Luke 22:48

We are the ones who are blindsided by these kinds of kisses that we wish we could have seen coming. Think back for a minute about that devastating kiss in your own life and I’ll bet you today that it gives you reason to have particular insight into testimony; your own. Maybe your kiss was part of a plan intended to save you. I know this may be difficult to hear because of the pain it caused you, but if you can possibly reconcile the effect it had on you with the life God planned for you, then perhaps the best is yet to come for you and me.

I don’t know about you but because of past betrayal, I’ve learned that I cannot live a guarded life and expect God to heal my heart; been there done that. It doesn’t work. A closed heart can neither give nor receive and that includes love from and love of the Lord; just like a closed hand can neither give nor receive anything. I want to believe I can see Judas coming these days and as Christ did, accept his effort as but another failed attempt to destroy my joy. Well the good news for today is been there, bless that! Those closest to me today know this and my heart is open to them as well as to you, should we ever meet. Everybody else can simply keep their lips to themselves.

May God bless and keep you forever.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are his. View more opinions on phillytrib.com.

James A. Washington is the publisher of The Dallas Weekly. He can be reached at dallasweekly.com.

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