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A little mercy

Cease not wet eyes, his mercies to entreat. That is the next line in our hymn for the week. The reading today was from John 13:21-32

I always feel sorry for Judas. He is one of the most tragic figures in the Bible. He has walked with Jesus until, literally, this eleventh hour and then he throws it all in. For what.

When I was younger I seem to think that I was taught something along the lines of, “well he hung himself and that served him right”. Judas was seen as the ultimate quitter, quit on Jesus and quit on himself. It was a merciless view and has, for centuries, influenced the way we treat mental illness and suicide. 

The fact is that we now know that self destructive abandonment is rarely a choice. It is easy to see Judas as greedy but he was not just that. He took blood money but something in him snapped when he saw what he had done. Something he thought he could not recover from. In God's mercy we do not know what happened to Judas after his death. It is through the eyes of God's mercy that we have to try to see Judas and anyone else who commits such damaging acts.

What Judas did in betraying his friend and teacher was not alright. Not at all. But why he did it and why he turned his wrath on himself, we do not know. We do know that, even in his darkest hour God still loved him. This is a two way lesson. Firstly, when we encounter those who are just awful, horrible, reprehensible human beings we have to remember that God still loves them, no matter how broken and ugly they are. Secondly, we have to remember that God loves us in our own darkest hour. Even when we are too far away to feel that, we can know that. 

If God can love Judas when Judas betrays God to the cross, God can love you and very much wants you to find some light, no matter how impossible that seems or how deep the darkness has fallen.

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