The Dalai Lama, in his address in Louisville, Kentucky on May 19th, 2013 talked about the difference between “action and actor”. The person is not what they do. While the action may be bad, the person themselves is not. I equate this to when Jesus said “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” Jesus was dying on the cross. It was a painful, degrading, and public way to die. His disciples had left him. The soldiers were gambling for his clothing. In that horrible, embarrassing, difficult moment he showed compassion. He understood the difference between the action and the actor.
Forgive the person. They can’t help it. They would if they could.
Every single person is made in the image of God. Every single person has within them the light of God. It is through the will of God that each one of us continues to exist moment by moment, heartbeat by heartbeat.
Consider Judas. He has long been considered the bad guy in the Gospel story, but his role is essential. There are no saint medals for him, there is no special day set aside to commemorate him. But if it weren’t for Judas, that part of the prophecy would not have been fulfilled. Jesus knew that he was going to be betrayed by Judas, and forgave him, even called him a friend. How many of us would be able to forgive someone who was going to betray us?
I have to confess that I have a soft spot in my heart for Judas. He was a pawn. God made him do what he had to do. When he came to his senses he killed himself. What a horrible thing to realize you have just sold out the person you believe to be the Messiah, the Savior, the Son of God.
We are told that if you trust in God, you know that all things work for good. All things. Even the stuff that looks wrong and crazy and weird at the time. Even the acts of terror. Even war. Everything is in God’s control. If we really believe that “He has the whole world in His hands,” as we teach small children to sing in Sunday school, then we need to start acting like we believe it.
Part of that is found in not judging anything. Not just people, but also ourselves and events. Not deciding if things are “good” or “bad.” It is all about accepting everything and everyone and every moment exactly as is, without judgment, without trying to change what is, and without trying to escape. It is about being fully present in every moment.
We are told that every moment is the guru. Every illness, every failing test score, every unwanted, unkind word, everything is our teacher. Even someone as reviled as Judas.