for more info) Luke and I have started a new project.
After years of being a public speaker at youth events, and working with troubled youth as mentors, Luke and I decided that it was time to make something out of it that could reach more people.
Enter Lightswitch Foundation.
Lightswitch is all about turning the light on subjects that usually stay in the dark. Topics such as mental illness, sexual health and pornography use.
We are aiming this at both Christian and non-christian forums and are looking at developing resources and workbooks that we can make for youth groups and schools on these topics. I will also continue my public speaking but it will now fall under the Foundation rather than as my own personal thing.
We are applying for charitable status and for funding (see attached document for more info) and would love all the support you can give us. So please, head on over to our facebook page (Lightswitch Foundation) and like it, get your friends to like it, get your churches to like it! Check out our website www.lightswitchfoundation.com and spread that around too. Print out the document below and give it to your churches/businesses/schools and help us with funding.
Thank you so much for all the support we have been shown so far!
Christine and Luke.
(This is my second time writing this blog as I managed to delete all of it last time...RAGE....so hopefully it is good!)
This week I have been contemplating the relationship between Judas Iscariot and Jesus. For how all this started see my previous blog.
It has been quite a journey and I have ended up somewhere I never anticipated that I would. So after 7 days of prayerful meditation, here are some of my musings on the relationship between these two famous figures:
1. Judas loved Jesus. Judas was one of the twelve disciples first called by Jesus. They gave up everything - their jobs, homes, family, everything - to follow a man who called them to something greater. They lived side by side for three years. Judas was one of those sent out to preach in Jesus name, to heal and to cast out demons. He was part of an intimate circle of men who shaped our religion and changed the face of the planet. After thinking deeply about Judas, and trying to stand in his shoes a little, I reckon that Judas probably, at some point, loved Jesus. Maybe it wasn't completely, or maybe it faded, but at some point Judas would have believe in what Jesus was doing, would have followed him willingly and, more than likely, loved him to some extent. You don't wander around after someone for three years if you don't think they might be on to something or if you don't give a crap about them!
2. Judas gets a rough deal by historians. The first time you are introduced to Judas, he is introduced as the one who will betray Jesus (spoiler alert much!). Peter is not introduced as the one who will deny Jesus. None of the others are introduced as those who left Jesus to die by himself. All of these are pretty massive betrayals but that is not how the others are painted. Judas is a villain before he even gets a word out. In fact, this is highlighted in most bible movies or stories where Judas is always portrayed as the kind of shifty-eyed weirdo on the outskirts of the group. But nothing in Scripture should lead us to believe that. He was a part of a group that was bringing the gospel to villages and towns. He was just another one of the boys. None of this is remembered by anyone though. HIs act of betrayal covers everything else he ever may have done. The writers do not want you to forget who the baddy is in this story, and so forever Judas will be known as the betrayer.
3. Judas may have been disillusioned. When Judas gave up everything to follow Jesus. the common belief of a Messiah at the time was one who would come and destroy the Romans and give Israel back to the people. We don't know if this is what he was expecting, but no one was expecting what Jesus showed. Maybe it is not so hard to understand that Judas may have become worried that he was following a blasphemer, a heretic. Maybe he began to worry that he was actually betraying God and not following him. Maybe the temptation of the money along with his own doubts propelled him into action. I am not saying that this is what happened, but it is a potential that Judas became disillusioned with Jesus' ministry after walking around for three years and not really seeing the change everyone wanted to see.
4. Judas may have been forgiven. One thing that I feel most people forget (in fact I did!) is that Judas tried desperately to undo what he had done. It is probable that Judas had no idea what he had started when he betrayed Jesus. Maybe he thought Jesus would get a beating and then be sent on his way. But what the bible does tell us is that after Jesus is condemned to death, Judas tries to undo what he did. He takes back the money in a vain attempt to persuade the Jewish leaders to stop what was happening. When he was denied this, he was overcome with guilt so strong that he killed himself!! Can you imagine being that guilty, that desperate that you would go to that extreme? Can you imagine the grief and pain that he must have been in? In my mind I can see him weeping as he ties a noose, calling out to God to forgive him as he does the only thing he feels he can do and leaps to his death.
The crazy thing is that Jesus did forgive him. As he was hanging on his cross he said "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do". In my mind this includes Judas. He didn't know. He didn't realise until to late what he had done. I am not making a statement about Judas' salvation, I am simply stating that in the face of Guilt and Shame, Jesus offers us all Grace and Mercy. Including Judas. He held out love as hate was poured upon him. He offered forgiveness to those who had fallen so far away
What I have realised during this last week is that I relate to Judas so much. I feel for him. I feel sorry for him in his loneliness and his guilt. I know what it is to have your guts so twisted by guilt that you think death will be the only release. I know what it is to wish for death because life is to hard to face. I know what it is to betray someone who you love and to see the hurt that you have caused them.
I have realised that I am Judas. That we are all Judas. That we are capable of giving our whole lives to something, only to fail and to betray what we love so much. We are all capable of so much love and so much hate. We are all capable of staring Jesus in the face as we betray him.
With this realisation I have found that my black and white thinking around people who have hurt me is too simple a way of understanding who they are. They are people who are capable of great love and great hurt. If I am to live as Christ then I must extend to them the grace and love that he extends to me and Judas. It is a grace that says "I know you have hurt me, I know that you have done wrong, but I know you are capable of so much beauty and I choose to see that, I choose to forgive the ugliness and to focus on the greatness."
This is a hard worldview shift to make. It hurts to let go of the pain. But will I be like Jesus, who forgives, or will I be like Judas, who holds on to the hurt until death? Will I let the pain people have caused, or that I have caused, be the legacy that follows them and me through history, or will I let grace and love be what people remember?
Will I allow myself to learn to forgive as I have been forgiven? Or will I let the darkness consume me?
My prayer is that it is the former.
I have trust issues. Like big, huge trust issues.
I am told that this is because I have been deeply hurt by people who were meant to protect me, people who were in my close friend/family circle. This lack of protection and pain means that I find it very hard to let people close. Though I do share a lot about my life and my thoughts (I write a blog for goodness sake!), I very rarely trust people to not leave or hurt me. Even those I have been friends with for years are still people I worry about not actually liking me, being fake, and ready to abandon me as soon as something better comes along. I can count on one hand the people I actually trust to stand by me and to be honest when they say they like me.
But I push this down. Way way down. I refuse to look at how deep my issues go because if I do I can't live. I would never leave my house or talk to anyone ever again if I actually lived out of the mistrust that I have. I would assume that everyone on the street is ready to victimize and hurt me. I would cower in a corner and refuse to live. I have lived like that before and I refuse to do it now. So these feelings get pushed deep underground until I forget they are there and can continue to live life.
The problem with that is that I don't ever address the issues. I never work through them and so they just stay out of sight, out of mind, but ready to rear their ugly heads as soon as I feel threatened. This means I can be very black and white with people. If you hurt me or break my trust, even on something small, I find it very very hard to forgive you and be your friend again. Chances are I am more likely to push you away so you can't do it again. It also means that if we haven't chatted in a while I will assume that you don't like me and the next time we meet I will feel awkward and uncomfortable, believing that you are just putting up with my presence.
Like I said, I have issues.
I am not ashamed to say I am seeking counselling about this stuff. I need to be able to work through these things, instead of burying them, so that I can have healthy relationships with other people.
This week my counsellor set me some homework. He was talking to me about my issues (as counsellors do) and pointed out that I seemed to only want to trust people who first proved themselves to be perfect. Well duh! But then he pointed out that everyone, EVERYONE, is made in the image of God BUT is fallen.
We are all made for greatness, but we all screw it up.
We all hold the potential for doing good, and for doing evil.
No one can be perfect.
Now logically I know this. Spiritually I know this. Emotionally I want to throw this idea out of a very high window and watch it shatter on the ground. I don't want to acknowledge that everyone I know can love me and yet hurt me. I don't know how to hold those two in tension. I don't know how to trust people if this is the reality of life.
So my homework for the week was to contemplate the relationship of Judas and Jesus.
The thing we don't really contemplate a lot when it comes to Jesus and Judas is that they would have been friends. The hung out together everyday for 3 years. They were tight! Judas was one of the twelve who left his whole life to follow Jesus. He believed in him, believed his words. He preached for him, cast out demons, healed in his name. He looked after the money for the group. He ate with Jesus, slept next to him, walked with him. They were bros!
And Jesus knew what Judas would do. He knew what was necessary for his works to be complete and knew that this man who laughed with him, cried with him, prayed with him, would betray him in a way that wasn't even comprehensible to most people.
Yet he still loved him.
He still welcomed Judas, still allowed him to be a part of his inner circle. He still let him learn from him. And on the cross he still forgave him.
That is insane to me!! Why would he do this?
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