Every way of a person is right in their own eyes. It is so easy to think we know what’s best, to not take advice from others, or to only look out for our own interest.
Those words come from Proverbs 21:2 and the full verse is this, “Every way of a person is right in their own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.” This is talking about intentions behind our actions. Are we seeking the benefit of ourselves or the benefit of others? It’s so easy to justify our actions and to say I’m not hurting anyone else, but God is holding us to a higher standard. With yesterday being Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday approaching I thought it would be fitting to talk about the betrayal of Jesus.
The story is familiar to most of us. Jesus has been living among a group of twelve called the disciples. These twelve Jewish men have walked, listened, and trusted Jesus for three years. Jesus has been creating a big uproar in the religious community in those three years. Those religious people, the Pharisees, have been trying to plot against Jesus. They come to the conclusion that the only way to stop Jesus and his movement is to have him killed. So, they find one of Jesus’ closest friends and they offer him money to betray Jesus. That friend, Judas, agrees and betrays Jesus with a kiss. The Pharisees seem to have won. They have Jesus and he will be crucified in a few days.
We so easily read this story and assume Judas is completely in the wrong. Maybe we should stop and think about why he betrayed Jesus. I will say that Judas’s true thoughts aren’t given in the Bible, but bear with me in these imaginations. In that period of history, the Jews were waiting for the Messiah to come. The Messiah would come and bring justice and bring his kingdom. Judas believed this, his name is even an indicator, so in order to bring this justice he betrays Jesus. Judas may not have been wanting to kill Jesus, but only to spark Jesus into bringing his kingdom. In Judas’ mind he is helping Jesus fulfill his mission. In Judas’ mind he is in the right, at least for a time. Judas betrays Jesus and after Jesus is killed Judas finds his remorse, gives the money back, and ends his life. In his mind he was right. He wasn’t giving Jesus up, but was giving Jesus the opportunity to act.
It is easy to look at others and judge their actions but we rarely look at our own actions. We think we know what is right whether for our own lives, the lives of others, or how God should move. Just like Judas we all think we know how God should move in the world. We think we know what is best, but if we don’t recognize this fault early we will end up just like Judas. We will end up hurting the people around us and betraying the God we love.
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