Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Pretender

Do you ever wonder “Why on Earth did I let THAT person into my life?”  Typically that feeling comes from a place of hurt, typically that person was someone we trusted only to discover we shouldn’t have and we’re left picking up the pieces of our broken heart and broken circumstances. Unfortunately this girl has more than one of those experiences and upon reflecting on that the past few days I have been led to a man named Judas. 

Honestly, I don’t know much about Judas. He’s not someone I’ve “studied.” I do know he was one of the disciples close to Jesus. He was chosen by Jesus to carry out the mission after Jesus died. He was also the one to betray Jesus, handing him over to the guards who later hung him. But until recently I’d never stopped to think of Judas like this—a pretender. He appeared to be committed to Jesus, but when the pressure was too much, Judas folded and gave way to the temptation laid before him…Judas turned in Jesus in exchange for money. To the other disciples Judas appeared to be just as committed as they were, but they didn’t know his heart.

If there is one thing Jesus knows well it’s our heart, our motives/thoughts/feelings/desires. Jesus knew the heart of Judas, he knew that Judas was going to betray him and yet Jesus still chose to love him, chose to pick him in the first place as a disciple, chose to walk right alongside Judas until the very last moment even though Judas wasn’t fully committed.  

Commitment. Our society is moving further and further away from the sacred word of commitment—we are saying one thing and doing another.  We are a society that pretends…for the sake of selfish notions. We wrap our pretending in a neat package of sweet words and empty promises with the hopes of the pay-off being enough.  Judas betrayed for money.  If we are honest, we can recall our own betrayals.
Today I wonder am I committed to God? Or am I pretender? Are my motives pure or when faced with the right temptation will I fold? What does my heart reveal? And...have I been a Judas to someone else? Have I led someone else to believe I was trustworthy only to turn around and betray them? 

It’s easy to the point the finger at others and gasp with shock as we wonder how they could hurt us so deeply with an act of shear betrayal…but, have WE betrayed? I have hung my head as I have pondered this notion today because the answer is—yes I have betrayed. I have betrayed people and I have betrayed God.
Right about now it would be really easy to slip into the “I totally suck” mode, but that’s never God’s point for correction. Here’s why…Romans 8:1 “For there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” This is a verse that Judas did not cling too. This is a verse I do cling too. God does not recall something to mind in order to bring feelings of condemnation or guilt, God brings those things to mind so that we see the sin and stop doing it. He brings to surface our ugliness so that when the temptation comes again we will be stronger and stand against it; we will not give in, but rather we will remember our commitment, we will remember we are NOT pretenders; but rather we are true to our word and we will stand strong in our faith and our relationships regardless of how we feel. 

I don’t know what your past is. I don’t know who you’ve hurt or who has hurt you. Here’s what I do know, hurt has happened. I also know you have been Judas; we have all been Judas at some point in our life. We have led people to believe one thing and done another. We have betrayed people and we have betrayed God. 

Judas ended his life by suicide. He didn’t stick around long enough to hear Jesus say “I love you anyway”…I have heard those words. I hear those words today. It is those words that make me want to be MORE committed than I already am. I love God, but frankly I’m shocked he loves me.  I don’t want to reflect back on this moment and see no change. I want to recognize the lesson and then adjust accordingly. 

I encourage you, whatever is going on in your life, whatever your actions are and whatever the actions are of those in your life, I encourage you to pause and reflect where your commitment is, in what ways are you pretending? Judas was more committed to himself than to his God and frankly than he was to his friends. To whom does your commitment rest? Recognize and then adjust accordingly.