I have noticed that many people in times of stress will say things that are truthful, obvious and something they would not normally say given time to think. This seems to me to be the sub-conscious blurting out the truth, whether it is appropriate or not for those things to be said in that moment.
A friend of mine had just started a new job and was extremely nervous. He was being introduced to numerous people, struggling to try and lodge people's names in his mind for the next time he bumped into them in the office corridor. One particular woman he was introduced to, named Irene Smith, had a large wart-like growth on her face. Looking at the wart, he tried to associate the growth with her name, thereby making Irene stick in his brain. He stuck out his hand and said nice to meet you Ms. Wart.
I wonder if Judas had a similar brain-fart moment when he asked Jesus Surely not I, Rabbi, in today's Gospel. For we know he had already struck his deal with the Jewish leadership to betray Jesus. Why not just keep your mouth shut? I think, at least for those of us who are not ill psychologically, we want to tell the truth. There is an innate goodness in all of us and being truthful is part of that goodness. We see it all the time in children who can be so blatantly honest in their comments: no filter yet having been installed. This gets beat out of us by the proprieties of societal norms, and those urges to state the obvious get pushed down in our brain. But in times of stress, that desire to be honest can bubble up at socially uncomfortable times. Perhaps we need to pay attention to those moments, for truth can lead us to new places of hope and opportunity. Seeing things clearly, not through a lens of manufactured niceties, can help bring the kingdom to fruition, no matter how seemingly embarrassing those moments may be.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.