“Life is a long lesson in humility.” – James Matthew Barrie

When Rembrandt set out to paint the likeness of Jesus and the apostles, he walked the streets of Amsterdam to find men who embodied the character of his Biblical subjects. Rembrandt began with a tall, handsome man who bore the stature and purity of the Christ.

Then, after setting the images of the disciples to canvas, Rembrandt was ready to paint Judas, and he searched for a man with a tortured soul. After combing Paris, he found a homeless man sitting outside a store. The man was dirty, unkempt, and his eyes spoke of deep sadness. After painting Judas, Rembrandt thanked the man for his assistance.

“Don’t you remember me?” asked the man.

“I don’t think so,” answered the artist.

“I sat for your portrait of Jesus,” the man answered.

Within every human being is the propensity to rise to the highest of the high and sink to the lowest of the low. That is why we can never judge others for their sins or errors. Given the same circumstances, we might be in exactly their position and take the same action they did. Mother Teresa became a nun when she recognized that “there is a bit of Hitler in every one of us.”

While we strive to be the Christ, we must have compassion for the Judas, who simply played out his role in the Christ drama. In the end, we are not the roles we play. We are the light that animates every soul in the dance we call life.

Let’s affirm: I am one with God and with everyone I meet.

Alan Cohen is the author of 17 popular inspirational books and is also a contributing writer for the New York Times best-selling series Chicken Soup for the Soul.