“Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.”
While I do not want to tackle the subject of the eternal destiny of Judas, I do see in him an illustration of how the Christian often deals with personal failure or sin. After the initial pleasure received from sin, we are filled with remorse or guilt. That guilt can become overwhelming and lead to discouragement, depression, and even despair. Too often, we follow the example of Judas, attempting to remove our guilt.
First, like him, we attempt to undo our failure. Since this cannot be done, we spend time wishing we could go back, wishing we had that moment in time again so we could do things differently.
Second, we often attempt to deal with the remorse by going to others. Would Judas have been any better off spiritually if the chief priests had accepted the money? Of course not! While the kind and forgiving words of others are helpful, that is not how sin is removed from the life of the child of God.
Finally, like Judas, we often attempt to get the incident as far from us as possible. If I do not think about it, or I let time work its magic, I know I will feel better. This was Judas’ approach. He cast the money on the floor and departed. Perhaps he thought, if it were no longer in his possession he would not be haunted by it. While dwelling on your failure is not the way God would have you deal with sin, simply ignoring it is not His solution either. God has established a way for the child of God to deal with personal failure and sin.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
God’s method of dealing with sin and remorse is confession. The first step to confession is going to God. It is at the foot of the cross where we will find the release from the haunting guilt of personal sin. While the forgiveness is immediate and we do not have to do anything to receive it (Jesus did it all for us), there are times when we must camp out at the cross. There, alone with only the presence of God and the promises of Scripture, we let Him communicate His lovingkindness to us. We must remain until we can clearly see that He has borne our grief and carried our sorrow.
Perhaps this morning, you need some time alone with Jesus, focusing upon the forgiveness He has provided at the cross. A forgiveness that is unearned, complete, and frees us from the penalty, power, and guilt of sin
“When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because a sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.”
“Before The Throne Of God Above”, Shane and Shane