Most people have heard of Judas.  His main claim to fame is that he was the guy who betrayed Jesus Christ.  With a brotherly smooch (of all things), he ratted out his friend and mentor.  But long before this notorious event took place, there were tell-tale signs that maybe Judas wasn’t really cut out for the job of Apostle in the first place.

Judas was selected as the treasurer of the group.  One of the other disciples (John) revealed that Judas regularly stole from the treasury (John 12:6).  That was just one clue…but there were others.  For example, on one occasion Judas got really upset when a reformed prostitute brought a bottle of extremely expensive perfume and poured the entire contents on Jesus’ feet as an act of worship and thanksgiving.  Judas sneered at her behavior, considering it a stupid act and a complete waste (Matthew 14:1-10).

Jesus was well aware of all of Judas’ shortcomings…but for whatever reason, He allowed Judas to remain part of the group.  Maybe it was because Jesus and Judas grew up in the same part of the country.  All the other disciples were from northern Israel (Galilee), but Jesus and Judas were both from Israel’s southern region—they were Southern boys. It’s possible that they were even childhood friends.  But sadly, in the end, it was this friendship that led to Jesus’ crucifixion.  A sudden and ironic end to the most incredible ministry the world had ever seen.

The truth is that wherever you find a gathering of people of faith, you’ll invariably find a Judas or two.  Judas’ come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  They’re every gender and every race.  And they don’t just attach themselves to church groups—Judas’ attach themselves to individuals. Chances are you’ve got a Judas in your circle of friends.  They like to be associated with the positive things that others are doing—they want to be a part of your life.  We often overlook the red warning flags about these people—mainly because we hope to see God do in them what we believe He’s done in us.  But don’t fool yourselves—they’re bad news.

They’re gossips, whisperers and talebearers.  They’re experts at starting and perpetuating confusion.  They often complain the loudest, even when they have the least at stake.  They want to influence decisions regarding matters that don’t really concern them and that they don’t even fully understand. There’s never a dull moment when they’re around.  There’s also very little peace when they’re around.  Still, we tend to tolerate them…right?  After all, everybody deserves a chance, don’t they? Speaking of chances, you really don’t give your future much of a chance if you allow these Judas’ to hang around too long.

Because, believe me, Judas’ can tell when you’re about to cut them loose. That’s normally when they do their greatest harm.  In order to preserve and protect themselves, they’ll leave you completely exposed, broken and betrayed.

Which, in a strange way, is sometimes not such a bad place to be.  Nothing tests the legitimacy of our faith like a good old-fashion betrayal.  If there’s any cussing, swearing or brawling still left in our holy vessels, then there’s nothing like betrayal to bring it to the surface.  If we’re serving God for any of the wrong reasons, betrayal will usually expose that too.

Sailors know that a storm normally sends more than enough wind against your sails, but betrayal is one of the few storms that actually takes the wind out of your sails.  It often stops us dead in our tracks, derails our lives and disrupts our progress.  It’s like pulling that card in a board-game that sends you all the way back to the start.  Betrayal hurts—deeply. It forces us to re-examine our values, gather what’s left of our lives and try to move forward again.  That’s exactly what the eleven remaining disciples had to do, and, in the long run, it all worked out okay for them.

In Jesus’ situation, betrayal cost Him His life.  Thankfully, that’s not always the case, and as i ALWAYS SAY , “whatever doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger”.   So if you find yourself still breathing after you’ve been betrayed, take a moment to be grateful.  And while it may be true that betrayal shuts the door on the current chapter of your life, realize that it also opens another door to new possibilities.

Remember, betrayal happens to the best and the wisest of men…but God is still for you and He’ll be with you!  Don’t be afraid to embrace the road ahead of you (just like Jesus’ disciples had to do over 2,000 years ago).  You probably didn’t think it would come this way, but God has stretched His gracious hand right in the middle of your unfair, unjust, wrong situation—and He’s making it right.  He’s also positioning you for an incredible finish! So smile.  Take a deep breath… and go for it!

You might even want to consider sending your Judas a “thank you” post card once you get settled in the promise land.  But remember, there are also Judas’ in your new neighborhood—so don’t forget the lessons you’ve learned.