The Judas Kiss
The one I will kiss is the man; seize him. Matthew 26:48
I feel some sympathy for Judas. I know he pretended to be Jesus’ friend, while betraying him, but I think he unintentionally got in way over his head. He loved money, and as the treasurer for the disciples, he embezzled their funds. He gradually surrendered to his greed and when the opportunity came to make more money, he simply followed his addiction. He gave evil a foothold in his life, and it enslaved him.
If Judas even thought of the consequences – most addicts struggle with this – I imagine he thought Jesus could take care of himself. Judas had seen him perform miracles after all. He probably thought Jesus would come out the other side and be just fine. He’ll forgive me because he’s Jesus.
I have sympathy for Judas because I’ve been there. I’ve looked at the ones closest to me, told them I loved them, kissed them, and then behaved in a manner that was completely contrary to love. I’ve hurt them in ways that no one else could, because I was the closest to them.
The devastating effect of Judas’ kiss is that it came from someone who was supposed to love Jesus. Even in his betrayal, Judas concealed his actions with affection.
In following our self-destructive behaviors, we don’t just hurt ourselves. We hurt the ones we love the most. We hurt them in ways no enemy could, because our loved ones trust us. Then, when we betray that trust, causing destruction, they are devastated. How could you do this? You’re supposed to love and protect me. You’re not supposed to hurt me.
I don’t think Judas set out from the beginning to betray Christ to his death. I didn’t set out to put my family through the misery of my addiction. Both Judas and I though, are guilty of a horrible betrayal. Whether we meant to do it or not, we took step after gradual step in the wrong direction. We alone are to blame.
Most of us have hurt the ones we love. Most of us are guilty of some betrayal. Unlike Judas, many of us have been given second chances. What will we do with it? Will we continue to follow ourselves? Or, will we do whatever it takes to change? Daily we must abandon our way to follow Christ, becoming who our loved ones need us to be.