This Lent Devotional for Women will focus on Judas and his betrayal of Jesus. Remember in Matthew 26 when Judas is “concerned” about the cost of the ointment the woman was anointing Our Lord with? He decided that money could have been better spent on the poor. He had Jesus right in front of him, and was still looking, still searching for something “better.” Friends, he was among other things, discontent.
Although the Scriptures state a devil entered Judas, we know his disloyalty had been in the making. Very rarely are we overcome in one all-out, blatant attack. Usually, it’s a series of poor choices…that look like good ones in our own, limited understanding…that end up being awful and spiritually fatal ones. And so many of these decisions start with a small seed of discontent.
The Scriptures state Judas’ behavior was not because he cared for the poor but because he was a thief. Now let’s ask ourselves, are we? Are we what? I’m asking, seriously, are we a thief?
And by “thief” I don’t mean are we stealing from the collection plate every Sunday. I don’t mean are we pulling our minivan up to the side door of the church and looting the building. I mean, what are we taking from God? C’mon now…
Let’s use a marriage example to get us thinking. I am married to Chris. Because of this union, I owe Chris my love and fidelity. If my eye wanders, if my heart strays, I am taking what belongs to Chris and giving it to someone else.
In my union with God, if my eye strays, if my heart wanders, I am taking my fidelity to God and giving it to something or someone else. And taking something that belongs to someone else, is stealing. And I’m pretty sure that example has some not so hidden 10 Commandments embedded.
You understand this is one of the reasons why pre-marital sex is so wrong right? We have no vow, covenant or promise of fidelity to the other person. We are giving away, what is not ours to give away in that disordered situation. And the other party, they are taking, accepting stolen goods. Read that one again.
So back to the question, are we a thief? And do we justify it with a big ‘ol, “Because”?
Moving away from the marriage example, let’s take a quick mental run through the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy:
The Corporal Works of Mercy are these kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their material and physical needs.
Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Shelter the homeless
Visit the prisoners
Comfort the sick
Bury the dead
The Spiritual Works of Mercy are acts of compassion, as listed below, by which we help our neighbors with their emotional and spiritual needs.
Teach the ignorant
Pray for the living & dead
Counsel those in doubt
Console the sorrowful
Bear wrongs patiently
Forgive wrongs willingly
After we go through that list, let’s go back through it again with the Scripture verse in the forefront of our mind, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
Is there anything, anyone or anyplace we are stealing from listed above? And again, can we justify ourselves with a big ‘ol “Because”? For example, “I’m not forgiving that person because…” How about, “I’m not feeding the hungry because…”
This reflection is a great question to ask God in a quiet time of prayer. “Lord, am I stealing from You in any area of my life?” I would suggest asking this question with a willingness to hear His answer.
Please, don’t say, “I’ll ask with an open mind.” Blech! How about asking with an open heart? Oh, and with pen and paper handy.
More Lent Devotional for Women posts.