When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.”
“What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.”
5 Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself. Matthew 27:3-5, NLT
Some days I think about this more than others. Today is one of those days. This week is one of those weeks. Today I am thinking about Judas.
He did a bad thing for sure. More importantly he was remorseful and in some translations it says he repented. He went to make it right with the “church” or religious people and the response was classic, “What do we care . . . that’s your problem.” I will save that response for another blog but today I am thinking about how hard it was to forgive himself. He tried to make it right. His repentance was rejected by the one institution that could have given him grace and help.
How often has this story been repeated through time since Judas became famous for his sin and horrible mistake? How many more men and women have done things that they are sorry for but are never given the chance to move forward with their lives. Forever they are branded and stigmatized with their sin.
It is such an interesting phenomenon in light of the forgiveness that is extended to sinners the first time they come to Jesus by the church and others. It is such a glorious moment in the life of the church and congregation when a sinner repents . . .initially.
Judas would have certainly been forgiven by Jesus, of that I have no doubt. He is the One praying from the cross for His executioners. My heart breaks for Judas because I understand his thoughts and I understand what he must have been thinking. I understand why he chose the ending he did.
It is so hard to forgive yourself. Some days I am great at it and some days it is a titanic struggle. I know that Jesus forgives me and has forgiven me for my sins but sadly the struggle is centered on the reactions of others. It is a human condition that is so hard to overcome. I have come to realize how important our words are; how powerful a word spoken in grace to someone can change their entire outlook on life.
I pray that God gives me the ability to reach out to the broken and fallen. I want to care and I want their problem to me my problem as opposed to the attitude of the Jewish leadership. Is there no place of shelter for the fallen? Is there no place of safety to run to when you falter and fail? Is there no one that will stand up for a Judas and say to the others that are condemning and looking down their proverbial noses, “Stop it! You are not acting like Jesus in any way shape or form.
Maybe it is our need to protect God but God doesn’t need our protection. He has dealt with humans a long time including some pretty big (bible) named failures. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His love never fails. He never gives up. He doesn’t run away.
Don’t be a Judas . . . don’t let the pressure of people or self-loathing push you to destruction. Allow His grace to wash over you and then don’t look back. The Psalmist prayed for help with this in Psalm 40.
I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness. In the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O Lord, You Yourself know. 10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great assembly. (congregation)
11 Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord; Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me. 12 For innumerable evils have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; They are more than the hairs of my head;
Therefore my heart fails me. 13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me!
14 Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion. Who seek to destroy my life; Let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor Who wish me evil. 15 Let them be confounded because of their shame, Who say to me, “Aha, aha!” Psalm 40:9-15 NKJV
Even the Psalmist dealt with accusers. You may only hear the voices of people but I urge you to hear the voice of the Savior as He speaks to another person who lost it and couldn’t keep it all together:
“A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. John 21:17 NLT
I love Him . . .without Him I would have no reason to live. It’s that simple. He is my all in all. I will be thankful today for His forgiveness and His voice.