These words pass so easily from our lips in the moments of greatest indignation. We have observed something terrible, offensive, or appalling, and as a flood of thought and feeling rushes over us, we attribute it to the degradation of the core of society and the dissolution of the family. People are able to pass by one another, one blood, and have not a care in the world for the thoughts and feelings of others. We see an ever growing lack of courtesy and concern matched by a cold, coarse attitude of self preservation and the elevation of one’s own perceptions over those of anyone else.
And we say, what is this world coming to?
We say it as if there is some inevitable universal cataclysm against which we are powerless, as if we can environmentally deal with the erosion of soil or the spilling of oil, but when it comes to ourselves, we are helpless against the erosion of character or the epidemic of selfishness. We can purge contamination and bring rehabilitation for every organism on the planet except ourselves.
And it’s true.
It’s true that there really is nothing we can do because I’m too busy to look at or change me, spending all my time cataloging what I see wrong with you. We turn through pages of scripture say, “Look how messed up they were!” We think we get what they missed, but what if they got what we’ve missed.
Thirteen men sitting around a table, and the master says there’s a traitor in the midst. We know the story of how they would all forsake him and run away, and we think we’re so smart. It’s like reading the last chapter of a mystery first and thinking we’d have figured it out on our own. And we say, “What are His disciples coming to?” As if they got it all wrong. Sure they didn’t completely understand His mission and purpose. And we think, how could they not have figured it out after spending three and a half years hanging on His every word? But they didn’t get it all wrong. They got at least on thing right.
“One of you will betray me…”
And there is nothing but silence. And finally one voice stammers, “Surely, not I!” But if it were you and I in that room how different of a story would be told! From the Inquisition at its finest to McCarthyism at its best, nothing could compare to the spectacle we would create.
“One of you will betray me…”
And then it all begins, “It must be him!” One after another, accusations would fly. “He’ll be the one to betray you, and here’s the reason why!” Not a pause for a soul-searching second to be spent, just a barrage of attack and deflection, trying to pin the murderous intent. And that is exactly what is wrong with us. We are so quick to point the finger elsewhere, honestly believing that if he weren’t so arrogant or if she weren’t so proud, the world would be such a better place. He’s the one with the problem. She’s the one with the fault. And never once do we ask ourselves, “Is it I? Am I the problem?” What is this world coming to? It’s coming to a place where it’s filled with people just like you and me, stuck here thinking someone else is to blame for the present state.
They got one thing right. Yes, they all betrayed and abandoned Him. Yes, they forgot that He would rise. But before accusing one another, they asked,
“Master, is it I?”
So I can’t even end this by asking if it could be you because I already know…it’s me.