I believe that most Christians do not recognize a "Judas." The same dilemma is now occurring in Iraq as U.S. soldiers are trying to identify the real enemy. Who is the real terrorist when they all look alike? So the real question is, "Who is a Judas?" and, "What does a Judas look like?"
The answer to the question is probably going to shock many of you. It is usually not a stranger or the "Big Bad Devil." The traitor is usually a trusted family member, friend or associate; in most cases, someone the victim knows and trusts.
Let us look at a few examples in the Scriptures to verify this conclusion. Cain rose up against his brother Abel and betrayed and killed him (Genesis 4:8). Then Cain lied to God saying, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9), in an effort to cover up his jealousy, envy and murder. Cain wanted the blessings that God had given Abel (Genesis 4:4-5; Hebrews 11:4).
Selfish Lot chose the better land, the rich, lush valley to graze his sheep and left the stony hilltops for Abraham his uncle (Genesis 13:5-11).
The brothers of Joseph, after slandering and conspiring against him, sold Joseph into slavery out of jealousy and envy (Genesis 37:3-28). They resented the place of honor and attention that Jacob gave to Joseph and betrayed him, and then lied to their father to cover up their sins (Genesis 37:31-36).
Potiphar’s wife lied about Joseph out of lust, vanity and pride as Joseph not only lost his job but was put in prison (Genesis 39:7-20).
Miriam and Aaron murmured against Moses out of pride and jealousy wanting more input into his decisions in leading the children of Israel. They tried to take over the leadership of their brother Moses (Numbers 12:1-2).
Aaron actually had been disloyal several times to him. Once, making the golden calf (Exodus 32:1-6), and then listening and joining Miriam’s murmuring and complaining against Moses (Numbers 12:3-8). Afterward, Miriam was struck with leprosy from God for her rebellion (Numbers 12:9-12).
Daniel was betrayed by his colleagues who were jealous of his leadership position and the favor he had with King Darius (Daniel 6:3-5). They gossiped and conspired against Daniel until "Daniel was arrested and thrown in the lions den" (Daniel 6:16-23).
Throughout the Scriptures one can find where family members were guilty of engaging in seven types of evil reports. In the book, Stop the Runaway Conversation — Take Control Over Gossip and Criticism, by Dr. Michael Sedler, these evil reporters are exposed.
1. The Backbiter: one who speaks against an absent individual (Psalms 15:2-3; Proverbs 25:23; 2 Corinthians 12:20; Romans 1:28-30).
2. The Busybody: one who seeks out information on a false report and spreads it by means of gossip, slander, backbiting, etc., (1 Peter 4:15; 1 Timothy 5:13; 2 Thessalonians 3:11).
3. The Complainer: one who finds fault (Numbers 11:1).
4. The Murmurer: one who grumbles (Numbers 16; Philippians 2:14; Jude 16).
5. The Slanderer: an individual who tries to injure someone’s reputation or character by false and defamatory statements (Numbers 14:36; Jeremiah 6:28; 9:4; 1 Timothy 3:11; Psalms 105:5).
6. The Talebearer (or Gossip): a person who elaborates and exaggerates so as to make a story more dramatic (or juicy) (Proverbs 11:13; 18:8; 20:19; 26:20, 22; Leviticus 19:16; Romans 1:28-30).
7. The Whisperer: an individual who talks about other people privately, secretly, and covertly in order to hurt them (Psalm 41:7; Proverbs 16:28).
THERE ARE MANY EXAMPLES IN THE BIBLE WHERE CHILDREN OR WIVES CONSPIRED AGAINST THEIR FATHER OR HUSBAND, TO HAVE HIM KILLED BECAUSE HE WAS THE KING, SO THEY COULD TAKE OVER THE LEADERSHIP.
There are many cases in the Bible where individuals talked and conspired against other people and had them not only removed from office but killed (2 Chronicles 21:4). Throughout history and the Scriptures there is case after case where a king murdered his wife, or children, or relatives or friends (2 Samuel 17; 1 Kings 11:26; 16:8-19; 2 Kings 10:7; 11:1-6; 15:10; 16:3; 21:6, 23).
One classic example is Absalom (2 Samuel 15:2-6), who listened to the complaints of the people, and took advantage of the backbiting and grumbling to betray his father and take over the leadership of Israel. Korah was another famous rebel (Number 16) guilty of the seven abominations that God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19).
Throughout the New Testament there is example after example of people spreading evil reports against Jesus (John 7:12) and Paul (Acts 14:2; 2 Corinthians 6:8), etc. Throughout his three years of ministry Jesus' own disciples were constantly second guessing his leadership (John 7:5). Finally, one of Jesus' disciples named Judas committed the ultimate act of betrayal, conspiring with the religious leaders who were extremely jealous of Jesus' popularity with the masses. They had Jesus arrested and eventually crucified (John 18:2-5). These religious leaders wanted to protect their positions with the people (Luke 20:1-40; 22:2-6).
This happens today as jealous leaders listen to the lies and slander from carnal “Christians” against their leader, and betrayal is committed daily throughout the Church around the world. This is why the Church is so dysfunctional! The leaders of the church are guilty of Proverbs 6:16-19: “These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”
Paul was another example of a righteous leader who was misunderstood for his Holy Spirit passion and zeal. Paul’s enemies were religious people and carnal believers who went out of their way to spread evil reports about him every where he went (Acts 13:45). Most of the time these immature people traveled ahead of Paul to various cities and villages, already arousing the people of the city against Paul before he arrived (Acts 13:50; 17:5-8). This continues to happen to innocent leaders to this day!
A JUDAS COMES TO YOU LIKE A SWEET, CONCERNED, OLD GRANDMA WHO GREETS YOU WITH A KISS OR TWO OR THREE. SHE HUGS YOU AND TELLS YOU HOW MUCH SHE LOVES YOU, BUT ALL THE TIME SHE IS A BUSYBODY TALKING BEHIND YOUR BACK WITH DISGRUNTLED, CARNAL CHRISTIANS WHO HAVE CHARACTER FLAWS.
So it is, when a seemingly harmless, kind and gentle woman or man beguiles and betrays an innocent leader. Of course, I did not say a perfect leader as no person is perfect. There are innocent, righteous leaders doing the best they can do in a human body, which the jealous and proud still continue to conspire and betray. Sure, they are not perfect in the fruits of the Holy Spirit. At times they do become task oriented and tired, but they deserve our love, prayers and support — not the criticism from the self righteous hypocrites.
A Judas does not appear as a prototype "Satan" with two horns and a tail. It can be a father, mother, aunt, uncle, sister, brother or cousin, etc. In many churches a Judas has positions of leadership in the church like the Dept. Head of Intercessory Prayer or Sunday School Supt. He or she may have the position of Choir Director or Worship Leader or Assistant Pastor.
A JUDAS IS A TRUSTED RELATIVE, COLLEAGUE OR FRIEND. THEY APPEAR TO BE SYMPATHETIC TO THE SITUATION AND CONCERNED OVER THE LEADERSHIP.
The problem is that their own vanity and pride is involved and they are not a true servant like a Jonathan to David, but instead are more like a Judas to Jesus or Korah to Moses or Absalom to David. They work with leadership but they do not agree with the leadership in different areas and their vanity is offended and hurt. Consequently, they become the backbiter, busybody, complainer, murmurer, slanderer, talebearer, whisperer, etc. Thus spreading evil reports, separating and dividing the brethren.
1. The Scriptures tell us not to "lay hands on people suddenly" (1 Timothy 5:22). "…not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil" (1 Timothy 3: 6). For more than twenty years I have been a pastor to pastors. I have constantly witnessed and experienced Senior Pastors getting into trouble with Judas's, Absalom's, Miriam's and Jezebel's, whenever they have violated the Scriptures by promoting a person to pastor or a leadership role, when they are not qualified educationally.
I STRONGLY RECOMMEND NOT TO CONSIDER ANY ONE FOR A PASTORAL POSITION IF THAT PERSON DOES NOT HAVE A MINIMUM OF A B.A. IN THEOLOGY OR BIBLICAL STUDIES, ETC.
2. The Bible exhorts us not to allow a person to become a minister unless their family and character is in order (1 Timothy 3: 1-7). "This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."
3. We are not to allow a person to hold a leadership position unless they are in compliance with 1 Timothy 3:8-13. "Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus."
4. A good minister must be diligent in the following 1 Timothy 4:6-11. "If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. These things command and teach.”
5. Ministers are to be examples to others. "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12).
6. 1 Timothy 4:13-16 gives us nine commands to ministers. "Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you."
In the book, Stop the Runaway Conversation - Take Control Over Gossip and Criticism, Dr. Michael Sedler states, "Satan uses evil reports to attack spiritual leaders and undermine their authority in the church and the Kingdom of God."
"A non-supporting comment such as, "Can you believe how strongly the pastor spoke about marriage? It isn't as if he doesn't have his own problems," becomes misconstrued and now forms a weapon of Satan to bludgeon the pastor and his family. "I heard the pastor is having marriage problems" begins to filter through the congregation.
"It is astonishing how often negative reports are directed at leadership, and not just spiritual leaders but leaders in general. Seldom is there an attack against someone who lacks vision or who is without direction." (Pg.61)
Dr. Sedler continues on page 83, "One of the clearest examples in Scripture of grumbling and murmuring is found in the sixteenth chapter of Numbers. This is the story of Korah and his rebellion against Moses. How did Korah get hundreds of people to agree with him that Moses was simply exalting himself over the other Israelites? The Bible tells us that these were not just people of the congregation, but they were "leaders...men of renown" (16:2). Can you see it happening? Perhaps Korah was jealous of Moses and Aaron. Perhaps Korah wanted more authority, recognition or power. Regardless of his motives, his methods are easily discerned. "Moses never treats us fairly." A person walking by might say, "What was that, Korah?" Once we identify these people, their methods, their intent, their ways become clear to us.
Korah simply went about poisoning the people and contaminating as many leaders as would listen to him. The end result was death to all those who opposed the positions that God had given to Moses and Aaron and, therefore, opposed God. How grateful and relieved the people must have been who said, "Korah, you are murmuring and I will not be a party to that type of conversation"-especially after Korah and his group were swallowed by the earth. They were as relieved as you will be after you face an encounter with a murmurer and turn from his foolishness (see also Jude 16)."
Another chapter states, "Slipping into rebellion makes it easy to justify an independent spirit. Someone who has violated the Holy Spirit and His intent for his life can either repent or rebel. Unfortunately, there are those who choose rebellion. "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry" (1 Samuel 15:23). Jezebel is an excellent (or, rather, I should say poor) example of one who felt justified to operate outside of the realm of God's will. In 1 Kings 18 we read of Jezebel, wife of King Ahab, cutting off and killing the prophets of the Lord. The envious, jealous and ungodly nature of Jezebel is revealed in 1 Kings 21. Naboth owned a vineyard next to the palace of King Ahab. The king asked to buy or trade vineyards with Naboth, as it would be convenient for the king to own the vineyard next to his palace. Naboth respectfully declined as the vineyard was an inheritance and had sentimental value. When Jezebel heard about this she was undaunted. She simply set up false accusations against Naboth, and had him killed. According to people in rebellion, laws, rules and guidelines are for others. Rebels violate people verbally, physically, and emotionally. Be careful: Rebellion is a sinister companion and it can turn a kind, gentle spirit into one that is cruel and insensitive." (Pg.58)
"One who carries a false report will attempt to create disunity and division. The Pharisees commonly used this pitch by trying to separate the people from Jesus. They wanted to suggest to His followers and their own leaders that Jesus was blasphemous, sacrilegious or a violator of the Word of God. "And the chief priests and the scribes ...watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the Power and the authority of the governor." Luke 20:19-20
We might well believe that phrases like "Wait until I tell you about the adulterous woman?" and "Have you heard the blasphemy he uttered?" were being spewed forth from their lips daily. Any listeners who were not on guard could have been led by curiosity into disunity.
An individual who conveys negative reports often shows anger when you disagree with him. One way to determine the motives of the individual who is sharing a report is to watch his reactions when you disagree with him. Anger and defensiveness are obvious signs that the person has the motive of gossip. He has an emotional investment and wants to gain support for his side of the story. Imagine the response from Judas when Jesus did not support his desire to hoard precious oil and allowed it to be used to anoint His feet." (pg. 27)
DEAR FELLOW BELIEVER: The Christian community is so very dysfunctional! I have personally worked in Law Enforcement for 10 years and in Church Ministry for 30 years. By experiencing the politics of both from a secular and Church position, I have come to the conclusion that Church politics is more cowardly and corrupt! Yes, we have the protocol established by Jesus Christ Himself for dealing with our differences (Matthew 18:15-17), but that procedure is hardly ever followed by Christians, especially leadership. I work with thousands of godly pastors, bishops and leaders. They agree that the majority of the leadership fails to follow Christ's example in reconciliation and restoration. Instead, they have witnessed and/or have been a victim of church leadership blackballing, and sometimes even being framed by another leader without a trial.
These perpetrators give all types of excuses for their violation of Scripture. The most popular one is, "I don't want to cause disunity", or, "I don't want to cause trouble, let us just ignore it". Yet, they do not ignore an evil report which they heard, but instead reveal it to others. Consequently, the pastor becomes a victim of a rebel's gossip or slander and has his reputation smeared. Then the innocent victim is not invited to be the speaker at his denominations' meetings or conferences, or even allowed to explain his position, and he does not realize that he was the target of an evil report. He is not aware that other pastors in the community now have a bias and prejudice against him, at least psychologically. Therefore, these pastors with the bias have listened to an evil report from a disgruntled person, and now have become defiled. Brethren, if we violate the Scriptures by listening to an evil report about a person without that person being present, then we have to take the time to share what we have heard with the person being maligned.
May God Richly Bless You, Jonathan Hansen
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