Reading for Seventh Sunday of Easter
Peace be with you!
When someone you trust and depend on betrays your trust, it’s easy to be left emotionally reeling. Everyone experiences betrayal at some time during their life. A cheating spouse breaks the trust between husband and wife. A close friend revealing your secret to another person can break your trust. When you lie during a job interview, you are deceiving the employer. Betrayal can occur in many forms, yet the realization of being betrayed causes anguish and distrust.
For individuals who are dependent on personal caregivers to help with everyday care, betrayal is an issue they deal with on a semi-regular basis. For example, a person with a cerebral palsy, such as myself, has to immediately trust any newly hired personal caregivers with intimate parts of their lives—from showering and dressing to running errands. Care tasks even include going to the bank, filling out withdrawal slips, and handling the cash. Sometimes the person with a disability hires a personal caregiver who just does not mesh well with the household (the individual with a disability, any frequently visiting family and friends, and the other personal caregivers). Other times the relationship between the individual with a disability and a personal caregiver can become strained if their friendship affects their working relationship. Sometimes a personal caregiver will become physically or emotionally abusive to get the individual with a disability to do what they want.
No matter the cause, any betrayal of trust can cause emotional heartache. In addition, finding a new aide one can trust and work with can be time-consuming and tedious. Firing an untrustworthy caregiver is not always immediately feasible; daily needs still have to be met even if he or she is unsatisfactory. If the individual with a disability uses an agency, they can ask for the personal caregiver who betrayed them not to be scheduled to do their shifts. Unfortunately many agencies are short staffed and occasionally the personal caregiver will still have to do a shift. If the individual with a disability hires and fires their own personal caregivers, they have to make sure their other staff can cover the open shifts before firing them.
In Acts 1:15-26, the disciples are processing Judas’s betrayal with Jesus. Judas did not just betray Jesus to the Pharisees, which ultimately caused his crucifixion and his death, but he also betrayed the other eleven disciples who shared their lives with him. The disciples shared intimate details of their lives with him. If he could betray Jesus, did Judas violate the personal confidentially? Did they have to worry about their families? How could Judas blindside them?
On top of this, the disciples needed to appoint another man to join them as a disciple and a fellow brother. How could they trust another man not to betray them? How could they open up to someone new? Who could they depend on? Once someone has broken your trust, it is difficult trust others, especially a new person. After firing a personal caregiver who has betrayed me, I find myself in a similar situation as the eleven disciples did in Acts 1:15-26—in a crisis but moving forward in faith.
In their time of turmoil, the disciples trust the Lord to call the right man to replace Judas. The disciples trust the Lord to lead them to a trustworthy man who will walk beside them and keep their secrets. Although casting lots may seem strange, in biblical times nothing was believed to happen by chance. In the Old Testament, Casting lots was not seen as gambling, but by removing the human element it left the decision up to the Lord as commanded by Urim and Thumim. Today casting lots meant acknowledging God’s presence in the discernment process of figuring out his will. The discernment process takes time and energy.
The eleven disciples proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas and Matthias (Acts 1:23). The eleven disciples spent time in prayer, asking the Lord to reveal which man was the best one to replace Judas (Acts 1:24-25). The disciples had to discern which man would work well with them to do God’s work in the world. It was an important decision for the disciples and could not be made lightly. In the end, the disciples decided Matthias was chosen to replace Judas (Acts 1:26).
Just as the eleven disciples discerned who would replace Judas in their circle, individuals who need personal caregivers should invite God into their hiring and firing processes. When I invite God into the process, I am always amazed and blessed by who God sends me, although not everyone works out as one would hope. These ladies help me with daily routines, as well they become a part of my household and my family; they become my right hand. I am so thankful God is willing to help me with difficult decisions and that I am not alone.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for helping us make decisions, especially the ones that affect our daily lives. Help us to treat others with respect and care. Guide us to the people who will build us up and let us flourish. Thank you for blessing us with wonderful friends, family, colleagues, and personal caregivers. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- How do you invite God in your decision process?
- Who has God blessed you with in your life?