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Don’t be misled by false statements. Surrender only to the Lord

judas-meme-lizBy Liz Johnson/Staff Writer

This meme (inset) was trending around Facebook a few weeks ago and gave me cause for concern, especially with the amount of shares and likes it was getting. The meme presents a false impression that is damaging to church members. It implies that a church leader is just like Jesus, that no church is fallible and that church members are failures.

No church leader will ever be the perfect human being that Jesus the Christ was. And while most churches are wonderful places to gather and worship, not all are perfect.

Using Judas as an example of a toxic church member is also misleading. Not all church members are as broken as Judas was.

Anyone who knows the story of Christ’s passion knows who Judas was and that he betrayed Christ, setting in motion Christ’s arrest, scourging and subsequent death on the cross.

Nevertheless, wasn’t the betrayal of Judas planned by God the father? Wasn’t it predicted in the Old Testament, just as the coming of the messiah was planned? Didn’t God already know what Judas would do of his own free will?

The prophet Zechariah, who lived 600 years before Jesus was born, predicted the betrayal of Judas in chapters 9-14.

“And I said unto them, ‘If you think good, give me my hire; and if not, forbear.’ So they weighed for my hire thirty pieces of silver. And Jehovah said unto me, ‘Cast it unto the potter, the goodly price that I was prized at by them.’ And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them unto the potter, in the house of Jehovah.” (Zechariah 11:12-13)

At the time of Judas’ betrayal, he haggled with the chief priests over the money to be paid for betraying Jesus. Even though Judas was a willing participant in the events to unfold, God was always in control. It was God’s plan to have Jesus betrayed and Jesus, His son, to be put to death to save us and set forth a new covenant.

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:17-18)

Even so, Jesus had the free will to follow Satan’s temptation for him (Matthew 4:1-11), but he chose to follow His father instead.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

All church leaders are human and thus sinners. We are all sinners. No church leader is exempt from sin. Some church leaders are more broken than others, but most know that the true path to righteousness, grace and heaven lies in following Jesus, not themselves.

The words contained in this meme are the height of impudence and ego. These words signify a toxic pastor, who believes his flock is a failure and broken, while he believes he is like the Son of God.

The complete story is in the Friday, Sept. 9, 2016 Richmond News.

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