Why Not Turn?

20When evening had come, he reclined for a meal with his disciples. 21And as they were eating he said, “I tell you truly that one of you will hand me over.” 22And they were very grieved and each one started saying to him, “It’s not me, is it, Lord?” 23But he answered, “The one who is dipping his hand with me in the bowl, he is the one who will hand me over.” 24The son of man is going just as it has been written about him, but woe to the person through whom the son of man is handed over. It would be better for that person if he had never been born. 25Then Judas, the one who was going to hand him over said, “It’s not me, Rabbi, is it?” Jesus said to him, “You said it.” — Matthew 26:20-25

How well does your personal steering wheel work? I know that once I have made a decision, I’m a little hard to turn. I keep moving forward unless there’s an immovable object blocking the way. Jody knows that she has to give me some time after she has pointed out a problem before I’ll realize just what it is and react to it. I don’t like the plan to change in progress.

I was attending a funeral in Portland, Oregon, and afterward I had to help my cousin deal with some of our aunt’s belongings. We were storing them at this place that was somewhat difficult to find, and the first time we tried to find it, she drove past it three times. Now the fact is that the place was almost impossible to pick out in the dark, and we were both at the end of a stressful day. But she was getting pretty concerned.

She turned to me and said, “I’m really sorry, but I think I’ve missed it again.” Sometimes the Lord gives responses even when our brains are too tired to process them. I said, “That’s OK! That’s what God made steering wheels for!” So we turned around again and found what we were looking for.

Our spiritual lives are much like that car. We get invested in a particular course of action. There are plenty of jokes about men not wanting to ask directions, but we back up a few moments, and ask whether the most humorous thing isn’t the unwillingness to admit that one is lost or has taken a wrong turn. That’s the real problem.

We try to live our lives like trains when we really need to live them a bit more like bumper cars—willing to notice that we’re going the wrong way and able to turn the steering wheel and find the right way.

Judas was in such a situation. Why doesn’t he turn even at this late date when Jesus points out the situation to him? Is he so invested in his scheme that even the revelation of his plan by Jesus can’t shake him from his track?

How about you? Can you turn around when you need to? Can you recognize the signs that a turn is needed?

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