A Traitor’s Legacy

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I’ve been studying the life of Judas.

Ya, you read that right. Judas. Don’t worry, I’m still studying Jesus too.

Recently, I read Luke 6:12-16. Here’s the recap a la Holly. Jesus goes to a mountain and prays all night because apparently talking to God is MORE enjoyable, beneficial, refreshing, captivating (…etc…) than sleep. This truth alone sends my poor little, sleep loving heart into a tail spin.

Back to the story.

After Jesus’ sleepless night, He comes down off the mountain and appoints His 12 apostles. I have a hard enough time picking out an outfit for work when I haven’t slept all night. I can’t imagine having to pick out my ministry team without a solid 9 hours, and an extra large Dunkin Donuts coffee in my hand! Am I right? Ok, I kid, but seriously, this event was a big deal. These 12 men would be with Jesus 24/7 for the next 3 years(ish). They’d eat together. Travel together. Fart in each other’s presence. You don’t pick just anyone to live that close of a life with. Let alone a life of discipleship and ministry.

And Jesus CHOSE Judas. A traitor.

Scripture reminds us again and again that we have been chosen by God. Hand selected. Invited. Called by name. All of that is true of those who will choose Him in return. And those who won’t. Uh, ya, them too. Seems silly by my standards. I mean, most people would NEVER enter a relationship with someone if they KNEW it wasn’t going to work out. Why love someone, invest time in a relationship with them, if in the end they’re only going to reject you? You’d never agree to it if in a few days, weeks, months, years you knew you’d hear: “Ya know, you’re great, but I don’t think this is going to work for me.” God does that.

Jesus chose Judas. And He chose me.

I don’t think I’m that much different from Judas. Some days I sell Jesus for much less than 30 pieces of silver. Some days I put MY desires, MY priorities, MY opinions above those of Jesus. I’m not proud of it, but it happens. When I come to my senses, I ask Jesus to forgive me. Each time being reminded that I am NOT faithful, but He is and I’m grateful.

It boils down to the condition of the heart. You see the major difference between Judas and I, which I believe is the key to this whole discussion, is that I let Jesus in to the nooks, crannies and dark back alleys of my heart.

I’m one of those people that loves inviting friends over to my house. I bake them fresh chocolate chip cookies and start brewing some coffee and then do a complete cleaning of my little studio apartment. I make sure the space behind my toilet is sparking clean, that you can see your reflection in my kitchen faucet and that the moldy cucumber that had been in my fridge the past month is now safely hidden in the bottom of my trash can. If I start running low on time, I lump up the odds and ends and stuff them in the closet I didn’t I know I had until I lived there over a year. If they ask where that door leads, I’ll tell them it’s where I keep the bodies with a laugh and keep walking. If a friend happens to stop by unexpected, I repeatedly apologize for the pile of clothes on my floor, my unmade bed, and the crumbs on the counter. Every time that happens, they smile and say everything looks fine and not to worry about that stuff.

I’m not like that with Jesus. He gets access to my heart all the time. He sees the dead bodies in my closet, the moldy cucumber in the garbage, and that sock under my bed that I’ve been looking for since last summer. I don’t politely apologize for the mess and ask Him to overlook it. Instead, I ask Him to do an overhaul. Toss whatever doesn’t belong. Bleach the walls– tear them down if necessary. It’s a painFULL process, but there’s purpose behind it. And love. Like when a mom cleans up a kid’s scraped knee. You can’t just leave the dirt, rocks and debris in the wound. You’ve got to clean it out. And sometimes you scream out in pain with tears rolling down your face, but He reminds you it’s necessary in order for complete healing to take place.

Stop trying to hide. Stop trying to fix things yourself. Stop trying to tidy up. Let Jesus in and let Jesus work on your heart. That’s the heart of a faithful follower– not because you’re getting everything right, but because you’re letting Him make everything right.

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You are not a glorified “Elf on the Shelf”.

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Last week, I published a blog letting the world know Jesus is not and will never be Santa.

This week, I’m here to remind you that you haven’t been commissioned by God to be an “Elf on a Shelf”.

For those of you who don’t understand the reference because you live in another country or you live under a rock, let me explain. Mr. Elf is a doll that parents use as a festive way to manipulate their children into obedience during the holiday season. His job is to watch the children and report back to Santa if they’ve been naughty or nice. Santa is outsourcing these days, but Mr. E doesn’t mind because he’s got a few antics and pranks going with the kiddos to keep life interesting.

Truth be told, I find it a little odd. Whatever. I get it. You’re making memories. Awesome.

We were not called to be some glorified “Elf on the Shelf” informants to Jesus where we go around putting peoples shortcomings on display and appointing them to the naughty (or dare we say “sinner”) list. Take your badge off, Sheriff, and get off your high horse.

Here’s the REAL issue for me. I hear a lot of Christians bashing on other Christians– it comes from BOTH camps. The conservatives and liberals flinging mud at one another with their theological stand points. Making sure everyone knows how WRONG the other person is. Sometimes they even call each other names and question whether or not the person is a Christian at all. To make matters worse its happening in public forums– on Facebook, in magazines and other media forums.

This business has got to stop. Firstly, it makes everyone (and I mean anyone who identifies as a Christian) look bad. And dumb. And ignorant. And mean. It looks a lot like friendly fire to me. Don’t we have enough problems as it is without having to worry about whether our brother and sisters are taking jabs at us?

Look, I’m not asking you to agree with these people. There are lots of Christians I don’t agree with, but like every family there’s some weird uncles out there. I am asking you, however, to love and respect them. Let’s take some wisdom from Colossians 3:14 where we are told to “… put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” If you read a few verses before you’ll see we are told to be compassionate and tolerant of one another. Even goes on to say when you have a complaint against someone to forgive it.

Not blast them on Facebook.

Let’s start putting a priority on relationships and unity instead of our positions and viewpoints. 

I know this isn’t a popular point of view. I even know the Scriptures people will use in rebuttal, but in a last ditch attempt let me leave you with this question: “What is your motivation for making a public display of your disapproval of a specific person, their actions, or opinions?”