When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,
“Surely it is not I, Lord?”
He said in reply,
“He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
He answered, “You have said so.”
Matthew 26 20-25 (the gospel for today, Wednesday of Holy Week)
There’s a title for you – To be accused, is not to be condemned. Ive struggled with this the last week. For some reason all my faults.. came welled up in my face, to the point I was really even doubting my worth. Between the Car accident, and my own personal struggles.. I was truly feeling not only less then a man, but pretty abandoned by a God whom I know is always there. The Enemy was doing a number on me “You arent Good Enough! God cant forgive you! You are Broken.. No one can help!”
Acknowledging your fault, is a good thing. Not moving past it, is not a good thing. If we sit there and allow the guilt to over come us, then eventually Satan doesnt even have to keep talking. He sits back, and enjoys the show. God’s Creation, placed higher then the first angel, made in His image and likeness, suddenly is ripping himself apart. Despair is his greatest tool, the thought that.. there is no help for us, that we are doomed.
We can either give in to that, or we can cry from the Depths for our Savior, Our fortress, Our God.
In the reading I copied above, we can see how the same thing happens to Judas. Those of us who know scripture knows.. He eventually hangs himself from guilt. I think Mel Gibson’s Passion, really describes that Spiritual Meltdown the best in the scene of Judas’s death. His own Demons follow him around… till finally all is quiet, and you see him dead. Judas gave in to his own guilt – His sin was NOT betraying Jesus… His Sin was the despair. He Died, and never asked for forgiveness.
Maybe Jesus, in his thoughts… Forgave him from the cross. I cant imagine Christ.. Simply abandoning anyone. Judas is therefore a tragedy, in that.. he lost a battle that so many people lose. The guilt, of their sin, completely rips them apart.So Either they despair.. and engage in the blasphemy of the omnipotent God being powerless, or worse they give up on God all together. When we hate ourselves.. in a way, we are hating God, whose image we are made in. That is what true hell is, despair.. and ignoring the Love that is always there to strengthen us. Thats what Jesus means above when he said “It would be better that man had never been born” – its not that he is condemning Judas.. God Never Condemns. In a very Human way.. he is expressing pity on Judas.. because he knows the living hell that Judas is about to endure.. the Self Condemnation that will occur.
Today’s reading was incredibly timely. It made me think… how many times am I .. or anyone else, just like Judas? The Betrayal of Judas, isnt that he turned Jesus over, the Betrayal is that he doubted God’s plan for him, and doubted that God could ever forgive him. I asked myself.. was I going to be Judas.. and give up on any chance of mercy, or .. do I recall that my God is Awesome.. and very soon in the week, pays the ultimate price.
We are bought and paid for. Any thought that takes away from that joy, is a lie. It took reading this to hit home with me.
“For My Life, Belongs to him, Who will Raise the dead again” – Jars of Clay, All My Tears