Jesus knew beforehand of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal, expected it, even waited for it, yet he still washes the man’s feet. Washing of feet was an act of servitude provided as an example to us of acceptance, of humility, of love, of forgiveness. I am both baffled and intrigued by the role of Judas – also, of how Christians view him. Most would say that Judas was possessed, for we are told the devil entered him, and lost forever. But Jesus, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, in a single moment would be betrayed by ALL, washes the feet of the one people blame the most for perfidy.
Iscariot, indeed, had a weakness for silver. The treasurer for the disciples, he pilfered along the way. Jesus knew this, yet kept him as overseer of the money bag. Why?
My thought is that somebody had to play the role of Judas. If not Judas, then somebody else had to fulfill the prophecy of the messiah, his torture, his death, his resurrection – salvation, the avenue intended for every soul’s ultimate deliverance unto God. Maybe there’s a wider spot of clemency for the one chosen to fulfill an ugly yet necessary role.
Many would say that Judas was beyond help, uncaring, unfeeling and consumed with sinful nature. Yet after realizing what he had done, that is, was paid to identify his master to the Roman soldiers via the Sanhedrin by poetically placing a kiss on his cheek, scripture (Matthew 27:5) says that he threw down the pieces of silver he received as payment for the dirty deed, and went out and hanged himself. Does that sound like somebody who was uncaring and unfeeling?
The end appears hopeless. Judas hung himself – an act of desperation. And after the body had fried in the hot Jerusalem sun, bloated from bacterial gases, it fell to the ground and erupted. It’s a messy, distorted picture. It appears like he got what he deserved and this was his entrance to hell.
But who would really know, except God, if Judas Iscariot, an unconditionally loved child of God, in his last remorseful breath, had cried out in his weakened constitution, “Forgive me. Forgive me.” In that private, desperate moment, between him and his maker, who could honestly say?
Forgiveness driven or regret driven…is there even a difference?
My sister (who knows me better than anyone) told me that I HAVE to see a movie called Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. It’s a take of a PlayStation game. I’m not into gaming or animation much, but my sister was insistent that I watch this one. And, wow. I've observed the movie several times to completely absorb the action, political tension, brilliant CGI animation, and epic music combined. What consumed me, however (my sister is always right), was the spiritual symbolism along with the theme of forgiveness. It centered on a character named Cloud.
Cloud, a former member of an elite combat force, an ex-soldier, walked away from the life of a hero to live in solitude. He is unable to forgive himself for the bloodshed in which his hands had partaken. Although plagued by painful recollections, powerful allies, such as Vincent Valentine (he's my favorite. Again, sister guessed it) who has also dealt with remorse, manage to draw Cloud back into battle to help protect and to fight, to make right what had gone wrong for all of them.
Yet, as Cloud ever struggles with the demons of his past, he asks, “Are sins ever forgiven?”
I adore this film.
Black Sheep, you are different not undesirable; misunderstood not disreputable. Honor is a power of the heart not a reflection of surroundings or surrounding attitudes. Your heart is strong. You do not fail, you climb. Failure is for those who do not move their hooves. Your hardy little even-toed hooves go, go, go! You ascend at your own pace. If you trip, you bleat, but you try again. Resilience. Among the scrutinizing eyes of your compeers I feel your pain, and yet I applaud—for there is no shame in being who you are or what God made you. No embarrassment, only delight. No shame, only honest pride. Some look at you and see deviation from the flock. I see straightforwardness.
Black Sheep, you are beautiful, and as you should be.
Dorian Gray, led by his vanity into insatiable lust for pleasure, much later recognizes how depraved he had become. Pleasure did not his happiness make, so he goes to a priest and begs for help in a 2009 movie remake of the classic. The priest, unfamiliar with the depth of this man’s sin, in turn, gives him a trained response. In Dorian’s profound misery the priest’s pat answer wasn’t enough, because his soul was rotten to the core. He’d done despicable things. Help. Me. Gray beseeched. The priest glanced away, lacking the words to bring solace to a devastated individual desperate for a chance at good.
“Speak, man! Do something,” I retorted to the out-of-touch priest. I implored that if I have ear to a broken soul bleeding sorrows, those words already burning in my heart would trickle from my tongue and propel a dark character to light.
Not for the sensitive viewer, this particular film is full of unsavory, hard to
swallow scenes. But I must say that the pivotal point of Dorian Gray would not have been as powerful had I not witnessed them. It fed my compassion for the desperate seeker.
I saw a bird. Only it perched in a cage. And there it sat. Eternally, it seemed, with the dull reflection of bars in its sharp eyes. I wanted to set it free. But then I realized neither could it fly. For someone had clipped its wings. I leaned closer to discern that I knew this bird. Better than anyone.
A dog barked at my door one day. I poked my head out to see to the commotion. Compassion struck my heart. One glance into the creature’s dark, fearful eyes conveyed the kind of life it must have had. Starving, undernourished, scrapping for its next morsel. Its mangy pelt never saw a bath, brush, kind touch, or even a pat. Goaded by unfriendly neighbors, shooed away from passersby, and never accepted into a pack, it appeared lonely and untrusting. It didn’t help that it had only three legs. What terrible accident took the limb? How did it survive with no apparent care or concern reflected in its environment?
The creature snapped at me when I tried to handle it with utmost care. I desired to gain this canine’s confidence, to feed it, nurture it, show the dog that goodness subsisted in the world and kindness came through a courteous soul once in awhile.
When someone moves into your life for an unknown reason and the compassion you feel over his/her hardship propels you to befriend, feed. Take care not to get your feelings hurt when your hand gets bitten. For it’s learned behavior, acquired by frequent injustices. With continual empathy, patience, and a thick skin, in time a lovable, bouncing puppy will emerge from the downtrodden beast who discovers the genuine trust of a real friend.
A fascinating novel set in the Amazon prompted my four-star rating on Goodreads. Until I read the gripping sentiment at the end. I then upgraded it to the maximum five-star reader evaluation.
“And you will be my best friend, too—as long as we see each other with our hearts,” a character said.
My first thought was, Oh, that’s beautiful. My second thought was, Ouch.
What a rare and sacred thing to truly see with our hearts; and how easy it is to stop seeing.
While I don’t follow celebrities I happened to notice a recent headline about two actors divorcing. This struck me with certain sadness because I remember years ago sitting in my dermatologist’s waiting room
equipped with television, and the male actor on interview made such a spectacle of having been smitten with—yes, the love of his life, his forever after, happiness always gal. What happened? What happens to so many, too
They stop seeing each other with their hearts.
One of the reasons I love writing romance is that although you must have conflict in the plot, the relationship has a “happily ever after.” A “happy for now” (HFN) is acceptable in the genre, but just about everybody experiences a HFN sometime in their life. What’s stronger and notable: to realize an unending future in an equally meshed heart-seeing embrace; hearts that not only become one but remain one.