Proverbs 26:24 (NLT)
People may cover their hatred with pleasant words, but they’re deceiving you.
It’s a sad reality of life in a broken world that we need to be on our guard against deceitful people. A Puritan writer once said, “The seed of every sin exists inside every human heart.” In short, while we need to be on the lookout for the people in our lives that, while being pleasant in their speech, are actually lying, hurtful people…we also need to remember that we have within ourselves the potential to do the very same thing.
Have you ever been hurt by someone that you thought was a trusted friend, only to find out that they were lying to your face? On the other hand, have you ever had an encounter with someone where you chose to be “nice” in their presence…while harboring intense dislike in your heart? Maybe you are kind to the people you gossip about? You may even have someone in your life that is nice to you in person, but gossips about you regularly. Solomon was a realist and didn’t sugarcoat these dark realities…and neither should we.
Of all the people we meet in the bible, Judas is the clearest example of today’s proverb. He spent three intense, powerful, and beautiful years with a man who would go to the cross for him…yet he sold him to his executioners for thirty pieces of silver, an amount no greater than $3,000 today. Judas never exposed his true self publicly as an enemy of Christ in all that time. Even his betrayal was a false sign of love…sealed with a brotherly kiss. While Jesus loved him, he stole from their money box. While Jesus loved others, Judas cursed and mocked them (Mary’s worship with the expensive oil). In the end, God fully exposed Judas’ hypocrisy for all time…and his life ended with him hanging on a tree.
We all need to be careful when it comes to having a Judas in our lives. We need wisdom and discernment to spot them, followed by the backbone we need to distance ourselves from their deceit. Additionally, we all need to take another look in the mirror (Jas. 1:23-24) and be honest about the times – both past and present – where we have taken on the role of a Judas. Don’t be a fraud in your relationships. Speak the truth, always…and if it’s a hard truth, speak it in love. Playing the Judas is a lifestyle that God calls an abomination. Be a true friend – an honest friend – and one who is the same both in person and away. In short, be a friend like Jesus.