The Subtlety of Evil

Youth Daily Devotional Blog: 06/24

Written by: Intern Sam B. Nguyen
Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:3-10

I don’t think Judas was an evil man. Or, at least, I don’t think that he was more evil than any of the rest of us.

Catholic writer Malachi Martin writes pretty expansively on the nature of evil, with a specific eye towards the evil that occurs in churches. One really interesting thing that he describes in his writing is something he calls The Judas Complex, which is a theory that Judas never realized what he was doing was evil. According to Martin, it is entirely possible that the disciple remained faithful to Jesus’s cause, even as he turned Jesus in. Now, a lot of Martin’s writing is a little out of touch in a lot of ways, but this particular bit is pretty interesting to me.

We all find it very easy to look at Judas and label him a monster or inhuman. We do the same when we look at serial killers, war criminals, and a variety of other characters that have done things that we consider so horrible that they clearly couldn’t be human. We use these terms to separate ourselves from these people who we just could not imagine sharing a single thing with. I think that’s really worrying though. These people are human, just like us. While we could not imagine doing what they do/did — I’m sure many of us could never imagine betraying Jesus like Judas did — I think that it’s important to remember that we are capable of doing those kinds of things. We carry within us the same evil that was carried in Judas, and we should recognize him as a warning. We are , in so many ways, no different from the monsters that we condemn. Judas’ regret in this passage shows that much. And in being aware of those evils, we should also be active in being good. Because when we realize how close we are to those we label as monsters, we can become so much more intentional in being good, being faithful, and being kind.