Betrayed with a kiss… have you been there? That friend, family member, business associate you trusted before they brutally betrayed you? The ‘cuckoo’ you thought to be one of ‘your own’ – that you believed had your best interests at heart and so you wrongly thought they would do for you as you would do for them, until they virtually bled you dry? A parasite that sucked the trust you had in human nature right out of you? Like me, I’m sure you’ve been there from time to time. I’m not convinced we are supposed to have our confidence in human nature anyway, mine or others included, but God’s nature has never failed me yet.
Let me tell you something about the Cuckoo. Each Spring a Cuckoo will lay between 12 to 22 eggs, all in different bird’s nests, but never take responsibility or care for them. As the Cuckoo eggs look the same as the others in the nest, around 80% are accepted and hatch with the new unsuspecting mother birds and they are reared as their own. Sadly that means only 20% recognise the cuckoos deception and eject immediately this intruder and parasite! You can tell if a nest has been a victim of ‘Cuckoo Syndrome’ as when you walk by and look inside, say a Starling’s nest, you will see the little starlings bedraggled, starving and dying whilst the Cuckoo is thriving! As the Mother Starling drops food into the nest the Cuckoo asserts itself, stretches out it’s fat neck and takes the food, and all the benefit with it, for itself.
Have you ever been a victim of people who were only out for themselves? They were only there to use and abuse you – perhaps you did the work while they took the credit or they stepped all over you like a ladder to make their own way up? All the while you believed they were for you until their insecurities stretched out their neck and raised their ugly head. Before you knew it they were treading all over your accomplishments, squashing you underfoot and usurping your nest – you came up for what felt like your final breath, only to realise you had been ‘Cuckooed’. Tragically, in extreme cases, a Cuckoo can ultimately kill the starlings and overthrow them from their own nest. During those times in your life when you feel overlooked, unnoticed, misunderstood and rejected; you are a victim of ‘Cuckoo Syndrome’, but you can arise the Victor!
Judas, one of Jesus own, betrayed Him with a kiss. Jesus knows, He understands, He took the most fatal of blows! Sometimes our greatest hurts come from our own. He was ‘cuckooed’ in the worst of ways – we totally messed up His Nest, (the world that He created). God lovingly fed and watered that nest and like parasites we took all the goodness we could from Him and when He came to His nest, His home, His domain and His own – He was overthrown and all by the children and world that He created and loved!
“In the beginning the Word (Jesus) already existed. The Word was with God and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it…. He (Jesus) came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t recognize Him. He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn – not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word (Jesus) became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” The Bible – John 1:1-11 (NLT)
Jesus looked at Judas as He came to betray Him and called him “Friend”. Just think about that! We can read the incredible story in Matthew 26:47-56. Jesus asked him “Friend, why have you come?” He then went on to answer His own question. You see Jesus knew the ‘secret’ – the Bible tells us “the secret of the Lord is with His children” too. He knew that ALL his circumstances would ultimately serve him and the purposes of God for His life as He simply trusted in His Father’s master plan. During the times when you don’t understand; don’t strive, rest in your Father’s hands. Jesus is our example – He knew that even the Cross would be no match for His Father and there was nothing God wouldn’t do to bring Him through! What looks like disaster in your life will end in victory when Jesus is at the centre, for the miraculous is His speciality! Jesus could call His enemy, “Friend”, and we can too when we know the ‘secret’ that nothing and no-one can put down what God is raising up!
One of Jesus Disciples, Peter, lashed out to defend Jesus, and with his sword cut off the ear of one of the men approaching Him. How often do we feel the need to defend and justify ourselves? I can catch myself out doing that many times – vulnerability doesn’t come naturally or sit comfortably with us. Look at what Jesus did. He responded with love, generosity, vulnerability and miraculous healing. To love as Jesus loves and to serve the purposes of God will cause us to sometimes walk in vulnerability – all we need to know and trust is that whatever we face, God has us! We see that “Jesus reached out His hand…” Keep reaching out to those who oppose and hurt you, respond in love – don’t react in hurt! The very act of Jesus reaching out His hand, even though it was in love and to heal, made him vulnerable. He was prepared to be misunderstood. His very movement could have been misconstrued as threatening, not healing, and risked a sword coming back at Him.
Sometimes nothing frustrates and hurts more than the injustice of being misunderstood. Allow God to be your justification, and instead of living defensively, live vulnerably and trust Him during those times when the questions rage inside you and you want to cry: “challenges why have you come? Miscarriage why have you come? Misunderstanding why have you come? I don’t like this, why have you come?” Just like Jesus you will be able to rise and say “friend, why have you come?” For every time the answer will become crystal clear “to serve and accelerate the purposes of God in your life”. What the enemy meant for your harm, God will turn to your good. It’s who He is – God is good and everything He does is good!
The one who betrayed Jesus with a kiss He could call friend. What looks like an enemy in your life can be your best friend in fulfilling the works, word and purposes of God for your life. In fact, I can speak from experience and say there have been circumstances, and indeed people, that once hurt, misunderstood and opposed me, but as I stayed vulnerable, prayed for them and trusted the outcome to God, I could go back and thank them for being a stepping stone for the next level of God’s success in my life. Take it from me, but more importantly, take it from Jesus, when you are in the purposes of God, growing in maturity and character, sometimes in life being misunderstood goes with the territory. Vulnerability may expose you to misunderstanding but it ultimately brings healing, well being and sets you up for victory and blessing every time.
It takes real character and strength to live vulnerably. It does not mean to live in weakness or naivety but it does mean to live in forgiveness and free from bitterness.
It does not mean to allow cuckoos or parasites to invade your nest, or to rent time and space in your mind and heart – life is too fragile and precious for that! To use one of my daughter’s and my favourite lines from the Disney Cinderella movie, the words of wisdom passed on from Cinderella’s dying mother, “have courage and be kind”! She was preparing her daughter for future jealousy and insecurity encounters with wicked step-mothers and ugly-sisters that so often grace our world! I add my own twist to the mix with my children “have courage, walk in wisdom and be kind!”
I watched with a smile as my children bounced away from a kiss and a cuddle with me the other night, so happily and problem free. It hit me afresh; no loving parent would put problems, pressure or pain on their children and neither does our Heavenly Father. I would do all in my power to take the weight of the world off my child’s shoulders and give him or her only the best. How God longs for us to see that’s exactly what He did, through Jesus, for you and me. Peace, joy and complete wellbeing is the destiny of every child of God so live free. I can almost hear the Father saying “no-one messes with my family”!
That dirty devil, the ultimate parasite, and most caniving Cuckoo of all time has drained many lives dry, leaving multitudes to die with the lie that God is mad at them when He is mad about them! Many are left malnourished, feeding on wrong thinking that God couldn’t possibly love them, they could never be good enough and therefore God could not, in their wildest imaginations, desire to be good to them. That dirty devil and Cuckoo reversed the reality and blamed the bad stuff experienced in this fallen world, and consequently in people’s lives by choosing the pathway of sin, on our good God – our good, good Father! All the while Jesus love cried out to them and this broken world, from the cross: “my goodness and love are more than enough for you!” I have news for you, God is good all the time! Don’t follow the crowd, follow Jesus! Be part of the 20% minority that reject and go on to evict the Cuckoo from their nest and live the flourishing and free life God intended them to live!
In the Bible, John 10:10, we see that the devil is described as a thief (Cuckoo, parasite) that comes only to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus says that He came that we ‘may’ have life and life in abundance! He uses the word ‘may’ because the choice is ours – will we come to Jesus and give him our heart of trust or will we continue living below par? Don’t be cuckooed and deceived by that dirty devil any longer! Serve him notice, invite Jesus in and win – kick that cuckoo out of your nest today!
Good Friday! I used to think whoever conjured up that name must have been insane? From the youngest age I could never understand anything good about that day: when the sky turned black and we sang in school assembly about Jesus dancing with the devil on his back? Now I know! What seemed like the darkest day in history was the turning point and dawning of a bright new day for you and me! Sin, sickness, death and living an empty, meaningless life were defeated on our behalf and replaced with purpose and victory! As destruction struck the Creator did He react by calling for our destruction? No! He responded with love when He stretched out His arms to us on the cross. His call was not one of revenge but for our forgiveness, salvation and restoration when He cried out “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!” You see, the King and Darling of Heaven was rejected by His own so we might once again be accepted as His own. To be vulnerable and to be slain was the reason Jesus came. Then, without a single word, “Jesus Christ declared with power to be the Son of God when He went ahead and did what Mohammed, Buddha and no other could do, and rose again from the dead for me and you!
So often we use the words glibly and cheaply “I love you from the bottom of my heart…” Those words flow so freely, but not so richly, out of the mouths of teenagers. It takes mature love – God’s love, to decree this powerfully and truthfully. You see, I’ve been to the ‘bottom’, where life, betrayal and circumstances can cause despair, but Love was there – God was there! The love of Jesus even took Him to hell and back for you and me! “I love you from the bottom of my heart” is the deepest love we can know; costly love, expansive love…priceless! It comes from brokeness, from going beyond yourself. You emerge through the pain to the power of everlasting love. It is found in disappointment when you take God’s divine appointment to go deeper than you’ve ever gone before. It comes when you finally let go and love…divine love… takes control!
I can forgive, because He forgave me. I can live vulnerably, because He gave His life for me. I live to give because everything I have He has given me. Everyone of us can overcome and rise in life because Jesus rose again for all of us! He was betrayed with a kiss and ‘danced with the Devil on his back’ so you and I could enjoy the kisses of heaven and dance with Him – now living free – continually and for eternity… He dealt with that dirty devil once and for all!
No matter what you face in life, remember Jesus had a three day ‘divine delay’; rest assured your Resurrection Day is coming! It looked like it was over to everyone that heard Jesus’ cry from the cross “It is Finished” – but oh, HE wasn’t finished! There may have been a three day wait but God’s victory and purposes are never late! Jesus could have called ten thousand Angels to rescue Him from the cross, but greater the delay requires greater trust; which means greater the outcome and miracle God is working for us! You may be experiencing what feels like your own personal darkness of Good Friday, but hold on just a little longer, keep looking up – your Resurrection Sunday is on the way….! Who would have thought the ultimate betrayal that started with a kiss could lead to this… more than 2000 years on and the victory of Christ is still going strong! Happy Easter everyone!
Heavenly Father, I come to you and no longer run from you for you are good – that means your plans and purposes for me are good. I will trust you with my life! Because you are alive I can truly live! Thank you for dying for me and rising again in victory! I evict that parasite of sin and shame out of my life today – Lord Jesus I will believe and trust you from this moment on, please have your way! I invite you in and by your resurrection power I now arise and live to win! In Jesus name. Amen.