Benedict Arnold, Judas, and Me

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When we think of Benedict Arnold’s place in American history only one word comes to mind: traitor. But Arnold was not always a terrible guy. He was a brilliant military mind and fought valiantly for the American cause. But one problem, he kept getting passed over for promotion, and worse others guys were taking credit for his victories! So when he crossed over and became one of the biggest betrayers in history he was doing what frustrated guys who feel disrespected do.

Have you ever felt betrayed? Duh, we all have. Remember what that felt like when you found out you were being cheated on, passed over, disrespected, or neglected? It was awful right?

But here is the bigger question: have you ever betrayed another person? Spilt someone else’s secret, hurt someone that was close to you, or simply lied. I have too.

It’s weird though that we often judge and label others quickly and do our best to justify our decisions when they are basically the same thing.

Another big historical betrayer is Judas. Even if you have never touched a Bible you’ve heard that name. He is now seen as the epitome of evil and betrayal.

Jesus was waiting in the garden, waiting for His arrest. He was praying and He was dreading what He knew would soon come. So He waited and waited until He saw some torches coming up the hillside. He could see the man leading this group of soldiers was Judas, the man who had dedicated the last three years to following Him.

It was customary in that time to greet each other with a kiss, and as Judas kissed Jesus, He spoke and said, “Ah, Judas, is this how you betray the Son of Man-with a kiss?”[1]

We look at that and fume at Judas for screwing Jesus over. He solidified his name in history as evil, and I would tend to agree. But Judas did not grow up waiting to betray God, he was a normal Jewish kid. And when he began to follow Jesus he was expecting Jesus to be the king who would overthrow the Roman government and set up a new Kingdom. When he began to figure out that Jesus was not planning that he got frustrated. He probably felt like he had been wasting three years. So he did was disrespected frustrated people do, he betrayed.

You see, we can look at Judas and criticize him, but the truth is that I am like Judas a lot of times, and I bet you are too.

We betray God when we sin against Him. It can look like a million different things, but it can be summed up like this.

We betray God when we choose selfishness over love.

Reread that until you believe it. Because God is love, and His greatest commandment is to love Him and love others. When we lie, cheat, steal, think inappropriate thoughts, hate,  or any other sin we are trading in love for selfishness.

When we do those things we are doing the same thing Judas did. He traded in loving the God of the Universe for selfishness that came out of frustration and spite.

So before we criticize Judas too much, lets begin to look at ways that we can love more and be selfish less. What do you say?

[1] Luke 22:48 The Voice