Did the Devil Make Me Do It?
Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. Luke 22:3
Looking back at all my self-destructive choices, those behaviors now look like temporary insanity. What is so clearly a bad decision in retrospect, seemed like such a good idea at the time. What happens that makes evil seem like the right choice? Whose is that voice that impulsively says, Just do it? Forget about the consequences. You’ll be fine. Is that the devil whispering in my ear? Is it simply my own destructive desires?
In today’s passage, we’re given a glimpse into Judas’ mind, as he schemed to betray Jesus. In the story, we’re told that Satan entered into Judas. It’s worth noting that this was not an obvious enemy of Christ. This was one of the chosen 12 disciples, who had sacrificed much to follow him. This was someone who appeared to believe in Jesus – but who retained profoundly self-destructive desires.
Elsewhere, we’re told that Judas struggled with greed. Though he followed Christ, he was a thief, embezzling the disciple’s funds. It seems unlikely that his original motive for following Christ was to get rich. Jesus was destitute. Judas believed enough to follow, but his appetite for money eventually destroyed him.
It may have been Satan who whispered the encouragement, Go ahead. Do it. You deserve the payday. Jesus isn’t providing for you. If he is the son of God, he’ll be fine. The appetite to which the devil appealed though, belonged wholly to Judas. Evil didn’t try to convince Judas to betray Jesus for something he didn’t already crave. He used his destructive desires against him.
This is how evil works. Evil doesn’t attempt to convince me to eat dirt. Evil attempts to destroy me with something that I desperately want. Whether it’s the voice of the devil or simply my own stomach, I’m not always sure, and I don’t know that it matters. I can’t hold Satan accountable. When the consequences fall, it’s me and my loved ones who pay the price.
The lesson is not to give evil a foothold. Even in the little decisions, I must continually ask if a behavior drives me towards myself or towards God. If I know it drives me away from him, and I choose it anyway, evil gains an opportunity. If, however, I daily choose to follow God, he transforms me, so that I desire faith and recovery more than my self-destructive desires.