How many times have we seen a hapless politician or other public figure hauled through the barbs of media scrutiny following an unseemly fall from grace? Scratching our heads we ask, “Why on earth did they do it?” Do we tut and frown on the fallen Colossi of our culture? Are we unduly surprised and appalled by brutal acts of terrorism around the globe which are occurring with growing frequency? If so, why? Is it because we have yet to come to terms with our own fallibility? Conversely, could it be that our fascination with such cases actually reflects the fact that, if we are honest, we see something of our own weaknesses and failings in the fallen?
Derek Williams thinks so. In The Judas Trap he shows that to err is human, that, without wanting to, we have a natural propensity to mess things up, to make errors of judgement and to engage in behaviour which is bad not only for us but for others. He shows that anyone can become obsessed with an idea, an ideology, a belief or an ambition that drives them forward and blinds them to wider issues or alternative ideas.
Positive and illuminating, practical and helpful, the book is based loosely on Judas Iscariot and the suggested reasons for his betrayal of Christ. Derek Williams gives us clear, possible explanations for why Judas did what he did, all backed by referenced evidence and lots of easy-to-read examples, both historical and contemporary. He does not propose any one of these as ‘the answer’ but suggests that a combination of some of these factors probably created the perfect storm in Judas’ mind.
Derek shows why we are not dissimilar and offers wisdom which can prevent us from falling into the traps and enable us to become mature people of sound judgement.
Drawing on examples and insights from psychology, sociology, history and literature as well as extensive use of biblical quotations, he applies the tragic lessons of Judas to life today. He investigates how ordinary people can be seduced into appalling actions; how ambition and wealth-seeking can drive us down blind alleys. Lonely people, those who for one reason or another are ‘outsiders’, can be driven to extremes in wanting to make their mark on a world that ignores them.
He includes chapters on choice and destiny, the effects of rumour-mongering, dealing creatively and positively with our own and others’ mistakes, the need to avoid blame-shifting instead of taking responsibility for our own actions, and being expectant of second chances for everyone. He examines the powers of choice and spiritual influences. He shows how to read the warning signs of these ills. Finally he suggests how to develop a Christian mind that will help make our world a better place.
Bishop Donald said: “Here is practical wisdom on how to protect against our in-built tendency to go wrong. Derek Williams is readable, thoughtful, brave, startling, challenging, encouraging: take this book seriously, and you will grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I recommend it highly.’
The Judas Trap (ISBN: 978-1-909728-54-7) by Derek Williams is published by Instant Apostle and is available from 21st October 2016 at Christian bookshops, bookstores and on-line retailers. Non-fiction. Paperback 192pp £8.99.