Can you identify with Judas?


This post has nothing to do with Labor Day.

I’ve been thinking about villains and heroes. In fiction, a well-developed villain has at least one
redeemable characteristic, just as a hero needs to have at least one flaw.

As Christians, we might consider Judas the worst villain of all time for betraying Jesus. Does he have any redeemable qualities? We may feel a bit of sorrow for him, due to the fact that he hung himself out of remorse. But can we understand him?

When I analyze Judas’s motives, I realize that he has flaws that I see in myself. In some ways, I can identify with him.

He acted out of greed and perhaps jealousy. Scripture indicates that Judas controlled the money for Jesus and the disciples. He may even have kept some for himself. It seems he cared more about the money than he did about people. And he received thirty pieces of silver in exchange for his betrayal.

At times I focus more on material things than on people. Author Chuck Swindoll says that greed is revealed by what upsets us. I must admit I get upset when I am treated unfairly in a financial transaction, whether it’s being overcharged for something I’m buying or not being paid what I am owed.

Judas may have also been motivated by a desire for power. We are told that he expected Jesus to overthrow the Roman government and free the Jewish people. Perhaps he saw himself as
one of the elite when Jesus became king. Disappointed when he realized Jesus did not seek that earthly kingdom, he instead chose to side with the ruling powers.

It’s not hard to see situations where I desire control over others, where I could choose the winning side instead of the right side. Many times I desire¬†recognition for myself rather than¬†as a means to glorify God.

Yes, materialism and a desire for fame and control–these were among Judas’s flaws, and they are mine. I am thankful that Jesus forgives me each time I act on these longings. He gives me the power to overcome when I focus on Him instead.

But I can relate to Judas. Can you?