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Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Judas Dilemna and Human Nature

Here's a dilemna that I made up* that I think illustrates our sinful fallen nature.

You have 12** good trusted friends, but one day you discover that one of them has betrayed you. You don't know which one it is.

This is a horrific and painful dilemna made worse by the uncertainty. The devil loves to use this situation to destroy the friendships because the devil hates fellowship. Most people because of our fallen nature will naturally end up losing or seriously straining all 12 friendships. The knowledge creates a cloud of suspicion that taints all 12 friends. Even though mathematically the probability of innocence of each friend is 11/12, the suspicion will make all appear to be guilty.

An evil person (I'm thinking of someone like Saddam) resolves it easily by crushing all 12 friends. To this person, it is more important for the traitor to be punished so he doesn't lose any sleep over sacrificing 11 innocent people.

A weak-minded person will quickly succumb to paranoia and in his mind the cloud of suspicion will turn it into a conspiracy theory where all 12 friends are conspiring against him. The conspiracy will become so real to him that if, later, he were to learn the truth about the identity of the betrayer, he will choose not to believe it. In any case, the taint of suspicion will forever ruin his feelings toward his former friends. Finding out they were innocent will not restore his feelings toward them. He will never admit even to himself his culpability in his response.

Our fallen natures makes this type of dilemna especially difficult for us. Because our intellects are clouded, we will find ourselves suspecting person A on Mondays and Wednesdays, and persons B and C on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Our conflicting thoughts and contradictory assumptions will spin around in our head like a roulette wheel; now the ball will land on this theory, now on another theory. If our emotions weren't so busy screaming betrayal! betrayal! all the time then maybe we'd have a chance to think things through clearly. Maybe.

A person who strives to be righteous will take his problems to God and use his faith to get through it. Faith in God is necessary to help keep his faith in his friends, and God knows the truth (He is Truth) so relying on Him will bring us closer to the truth. He would rather forgive the judas than lose a single friend. Because in the end our friendships demand the same kind of faith that we have in God, but it is our faith in God that orders and guides our faith in our friends.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path. (Psalm 119: 105)

*I don't know if someone's thought of it before, but it seems too basic and obvious for me to be the first to think of it.
**I picked the number 12 so I could call it the Judas*** Dilemna, but also it has to be a large number of friends so that you can see that mathematically speaking most of the friends are innocent (1/12 chance that a friend has betrayed you), which shows how destructive that the cloud of suspicion is.
***Of course Jesus didn't have this dilemna with His apostles. Being God, He knew everything that was going on.

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