Wednesday, April 26, 2006

God? In the betrayer?

It seemed so easy to discuss the topic of betrayal as long as the pilgrims focused their attention on Judas. That universal bad guy. The ultimate betrayer. While the Gospel of Judas may try to do a "historical corrective," poor Judas' persona is set in the proverbial stone. Even the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar couldn't remove the stain of 2,000 years worth of bad press for the worse kiss in history.

But try and move the discussion away from a transference conversation into a personal mode of who screwed who, when; well that was almost impossible. Why is it so difficult to talk about being betrayed? Or worse still, the most obvious, is it even possible to talk about being the one who plants the wet kiss on a friend's cheek? Well, it's all too personal. And besides that, the issue of the "f" word always gets into the debate.

No, not that "f" word. I'm talking about Forgiveness. It's too hard to talk about forgiving and being forgiven or not forgiven.

To encounter the way too painful heart matter of betrayal in a manner that opens the wounds of reality and honesty, the faint notion of forgiving and being forgiven must surface. Surface, because forgiveness is suppressed out of hate, revenge or more often just for emotional survival.

So let's deflect for a minute. Did Jesus forgive Judas? Would you? Ok, never mind that second question. Back to the original. Did Judas receive Jesus' forgiveness? Maybe, that's two different questions. There is a difference between Jesus offering the forgiveness and Judas feeling forgiven. In that difference may lie our own issues with the slash of betrayal and the healing of forgiveness.

There are no easy answers. Only more complex questions. However, only when the questions are asked can the betrayed and the betrayer move one step closer to possibly embracing forgiving and being forgiven.


thesmalls said...

i am intrigued. intrigued, perhaps mystified. while reading about the gospel of judas i feel the anger of bishops past and present as their orthodox boats got/get rocked. i feel the excitement of the antiquities dealers and the scholars that piece together fragments of papyrus. i look at this discovery as a chance for the religious world to wake up and take active participation in rediscovering the power that accompanies any text related to the sacred.

i am not so concerned about what this revelation does to the world of faith, at least not at the present moment. what i find fascinating is that we as a people of faith find time to argue about it but not confront the issues of betrayal and what roll it plays in our lives, spiritual and otherwise. the concept of betrayal revealing grace is scary at best but plausible. it causes me to ponder why people are quick to jump to canonical scripture without the knowledge that it was chosen by bishops and people long ago who considered it to fit with their human idea of christianity.

this newly revealed gospel causes a source of discomfort for me that i am willing to engage and explore. the gospel of thomas caused a stir but he was merely a “doubter”, not a “betrayer”. i suppose it is easy for us all to admit once in a while that we doubt, but what about the admittance of betrayal? this is where the faithful rubber meets the road.

HollyDiane said...

One thing I started to bring up was how Jesus betrayed Judas. Or at least how Judas felt Jesus had betrayed them. After all, if Jesus was the Messiah, wasn't he supposed to do be doing certain things, like getting rid of the Romans? Did Judas feel like Jesus had "sold out"? Did Judas feel he'd been lied to or manipulated?

How would I react in the same situation? I doubt I would fare much better than Judas.