Intoxication

Unable To See Straight, Like Being Intoxicated

Betrayal and denial are actions that are as common as freckles. Often, we may not see how serious it is to betray others. Too often, we deny our responsibility for the well-being of others as well as for ourselves. Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, says betrayal and denial are what other people do to us because they do not see straight. They don’t understand how what they are doing affects others or themselves.

The Church Season of Lent focuses on the denial and betrayal of Jesus as it plays out fully in the Holy Week events. To a large degree, we may only see what we want to see. We may ignore hearing what we don’t want to hear because it challenges our thinking, speaking, or acting.  Intoxicated driving is a denial of other people’s safety. The safety of those who are on the road at the same time as the drunk driver. Driving drunk is also a betrayal of the driver himself or herself. When you drive drunk, you put yourself at risk of an accident that might result in your injury or death.

We do not always do what is wise or safe regarding ourselves or others. The more we focus on ourselves and others, the more intoxicated we become with what is temporary and fleeting. If our most trusted family members and friends can betray us, so can all the things and people we are counting on to protect us and give us happiness. We need to count on God most of all.

The disciples spoke willingly and openly about being loyal to Jesus, but it is never merely about our right words and good intentions. Circumstances blind us or have us not seeing straight and have us denying or betraying both people we know and love and those we don’t know. We cannot control if others will be loyal to us. It isn’t what others say to our faces but behind our backs. It becomes clear that others have denied or betrayed us. Most of us have recognized that we have been guilty of denying and betraying others for various reasons.

We remember in Lent that Jesus’ disciples disserted Jesus at his arrest. Judas Iscariot, His own disciple, betrayed Jesus to His enemies. One of Jesus’ most trusted disciples, Peter, betrayed or denied being a disciple of Jesus three times. Jesus prayed for his enemies mocking Him while he was suffering on the cross because they didn’t know what they were doing. Sin clouds our judgment. It keeps us from seeing and acting as we should. Jesus willingly died that God could forgive our sins. Jesus gave His righteousness to God for our forgiveness and took the punishment of death for our sins on himself.

The pandemic has been a reality check that death cannot be eradicated here on earth. Our focus is to be on God, who offers us more than death and more than the sinfulness that keeps us in denial or betrayal of God and others. Thankfully, God gives eternal life in heaven to all believers in Christ. “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

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Raymond Maher
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