Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Judas Choice, Duality and Sacred Agreements

We live in a world based on separation. The Bible tells us the first thing God did when he created this world was to separate the darkness from the light. We have learned to identify ourselves with one role or another--good/bad, Democrat/Republican, straight/gay, Christian/Moslem/Jew/Hindu, ad infinitum. As we take on these various identities, we use these distinctions to bond to certain groups and alienate ourselves from certain others. Separation can be a useful learning tool, but is it really the end game? Why is separation important? Does belonging to a certain group make us better or worse than others, and should our goal be "righteousness"?
The Biblical story of Judas comes to the forefront of my Christian upbringing. Judas was the ultimate betrayer because he was paid off by the authorities to identify Jesus to the soldiers who would arrest him. The traditional Bible (the one that Christians believe to be the word of God) portrays Judas as the ultimate "bad" guy. Various texts in the New Testament talk about how Jesus recognized his betrayer in advance, how the devil prompted Judas to sell out Jesus for gold, and how Judas was so filled with guilt after the deed was done that he committed suicide--a fitting end for such an evil person, or was it?

The Gospel of Judas says some very different things about Judas. What is the Gospel of Judas? It is a translation of some coptic language papyrus writings which surfaced in the 1970's and was carbon dated back to A.D. 280. Although the actual text is literally fragmented, what remains is an intriguing account of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. The text claims that Jesus and Judas were extremely good friends and that Jesus did indeed know Judas would betray him and even planned with him because this was the sacred role Judas had agreed to portray. In the Bible's context, betraying Jesus is a horrendous sin, and yet even the Bible acknowledges Jesus had to be betrayed and killed so the prophecies could be fulfilled. Consider this: if the plan of salvation required the sacrifice of Jesus, someone had to be the betrayer. Nobody likes the "bad" guy. In fact, we are all taught to hate and despise the "bad" guy and to separate ourselves from him. Why would anyone in their right mind choose to play the "bad" guy?

If life is the learning process I believe it to be, choosing to be "evil" is a difficult choice to make. Even though we are taught it is selfish and wrong to harm others, it is those acts that cause harm which usually teach us the most. Making the choice to play the "bad" guy role takes strength and courage because such a choice puts us in the center of controversy and punishment--the ultimate place of separation. It is so much easier to make the choice to be "good" and fit in. It is my belief that Judas entered into a sacred agreement when he agreed to play the bad guy role--an agreement to make himself a target so that others could learn and grow.

To all those who have made the Judas choice, I give you my unconditional love and appreciation. Thank you for your willingness to play the "bad" guy role so that my understanding and compassion could be increased. Thank you for helping me feel the depths so I could also feel the heights. Thank you for allowing me to use my gift of unconditional love to heal the planet. Your service has had tremendous benefit for the One, and I am truly grateful you made the choice to be my teacher. Namaste, my friends.

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