Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dealing with Judases in life

Many times, as I am reminded of the Judases of life that I have met, I use the opportunity to review my actions and interactions with others to make sure that I am not a Judas in the relationships with others. Beginning here has the cleansing effect of inspecting for logs, before getting down to splinters. Nothing wrong with looking for splinters, just remember that as you look, so God will look as well. Removing the logs in our own eyes, has the benefit of restoring vision that is CAPABLE of looking for splinters. The oft quoted phrase; "Judge not" is too often distanced from its absolutely necessary companion; "lest you be judged". Judgment is a good thing. I'd rather Christ judges my actions now, than to store up a huge list for some point in eternity where nothing can be reconciled. At this point a quick pause to reiterate that this is not about "achieving salvation" or accumulating enough good to outweigh the bad, but rather knowing that as an individual I WILL be held accountable for what I say, do, think and act on at the Judgment seat of Christ. Therefore, it benefits my life now to be under the constant scrutiny of God's Word, His Holy Spirit and His divine judge-ship daily! To quote the psalmist, " how shall a young man cleanse his ways? By giving heed to the Word of God". All that said, it is now time to address the initial question regarding the Judas folks we encounter in life.
For a "Judas" to be capable of his or her calling...some basics have to be in place. First, we must have a relationship with the Judas. This relationship must be one with vulnerability and personal investment. For the Judas's part, there has to be something to steal. They have to see a benefit in going along with the relationship. For Jesus and Judas, this was long as there was a common purse and he (Judas) had control of it, there was something to steal. As long as Jesus was healing and performing miracles, there was also something to steal...fame and the "intimate" position that Judas held as one of the twelve. As soon as the perceived value of these two was diminished, not to say anything about the many other intrinsic benefits of being Christ's disciple, Judas was looking for a way out and another shot at gain. So also the modern Judases of life must find something that they can get to satisfy their lust. Whether it be personal gain, free help with all their troubles or an actual possession to steal, there must be something that keeps the Judas positioned in a relationship that really doesn't matter other than the convenience or the gain possible.  Shut the door on either and the Judas will do what Judases all over the world do....betray!
The Judas's next trait will soon be evident; they are masters at leaving and moving on to the next without sorrow or looking back. You, on the other hand, will be waiting, praying for reconciliation and restoration, wondering how years and years of "friendship" could just end, while they will be merrily on their way to the next new target and way to achieve their lust's fulfillment. Looking back, most of this is visible, unless you are the Judas's first betrayal. Most often there will be betrayal of a former spouse, employer or close friend at an early age, but throughout the life of the Judas, this same trait will be appallingly apparent. Multiple marriages and divorces, family feuds carried into adulthood and beyond, betrayed confidences left unsettled for years and decades; these all are very clear indicators that are too often seen in retrospect.
So what can you do about the Judas? How can you prevent him or her from destroying your ability to trust, to love without barricades or to accept new relationships? Can it be done? In Jesus' case, Judas was well known from the beginning, but also an integral component in prophecies fulfillment. I think Jesus well knew what Judas would do; only Judas was unaware that his natural lust was an eternal rut in the road to Jesus' sacrifice. What he would do, even in stealing from the common purse, was just proof that he would do what he did for 30 pieces of silver years later. I believe the way to deal with Judases is clear in the Word of God; its just that we (collective use) don't let the Word of God have the authority and position in the church that it MUST have. God deals with accountability in relationships; we just want to get along. God deals with accountability in church leadership; we just want the leaders that make us feel good and entertain us. God deals with transparency in relationship; we prefer our facades. God deals with the continual, free working of His Holy Spirit to identify wrong and danger in our lives and churches; we'd prefer to quench Him than to deal with the fires ignited of conviction and correction. God deals with His Word's ability to cut to the heart of the matter; we'd just like a close shave, not too much off the top! In clear terms, our rejection of God's Word as THE authoritative standard for conduct and action of the believer has placed us in jeopardy with the Judases of life. We've invited them in, because we tell all that there will be no accountability here....just love, when in fact, without accountability there is NO love!! The unconditional part of God's love deals with who He loves...the sinner, and how His love pays for our sin; all our sin regardless of "how bad" it may be. It is not unconditional in that, we can do whatever we want when we want and God's love will be permissive. Remember what God said, "those He loves, He disciplines". Period!
One of the "Judases" that I've experienced did much damage. But in looking back, it was my failure to apply God's Word, in every area of the relationship, that allowed the damage to be done. Missing the big clues; three failed marriages, unresolved family issues from rebellion, the constant taking, never giving and much else, were the clues that God's Word would have cut to the heart of the matter and identified as a problem, long before it became the problem it did. And His Word would have always allowed the restoration that now is out of reach, because the Judas has just done what he's always done...moved on to the next usable relationship. The problem was mine; I didn't let God's Word be true. But you better believe that I've learned the lesson; understanding the discipline that my Father has allowed me to experience to get my heart in alignment with His every subject, not just the fun ones!!