Judas, the one who betrayed him, realized that Jesus was doomed. Overcome with remorse, he gave back the thirty silver coins to the high priests, saying, “I’ve sinned. I’ve betrayed an innocent man.”
They said, “What do we care? That’s your problem!” Matthew 27:3-4 (MSG)
So many times in my life I have come to a place where I realize that I did something wrong and have to repent before man and before God. I have been in Judas’ shoes countless times. Every day, various sins, usually regarding a bad attitude about something, creep into my life and I have to make a choice to hold onto those sins and continually walk in them or to give them over to Jesus and walk away from them in freedom.
Repentance is a 180 degree turning away from sin. It is feeling remorse for, feeling sorry for, feeling regret, being contrite (feeling or expressing pain or sorrow) for sins or offenses. These emotions are what Judas felt after realizing what he had actually done by betraying Jesus. He demonstrated his repentance by public confession to the priests and restitution by giving back the silver he had received for his sin. But Judas repented to the wrong man. He confessed to the priests and their response was full of rejection: “So what? It isn’t our problem; it is your problem!”
When I repent to someone, I hope that I will be forgiven by the person I offended, in spite of my sin. But I will admit that sometimes it is difficult for me to forgive someone who has hurt me. It takes me time to move into that place where ‘all is forgiven’; I find myself needing to forgive over and over again.
It is the complete opposite for God. He will readily receive my repentance and forgive me without thought every time I ask, no matter how many times I have to ask. And He will do this for everyone. Time after time, throughout the past, present, and future, God forgives continually. Especially in the case of the Israelites who complained against God repeatedly saying, “If only we had stayed in Egypt…”
In spite of their sin, God pardoned them, provided for them, and protected them. It is a beautiful picture of what Jesus did for me on the cross – he became a curse, he was spit on, beaten, and crucified so that I can walk in the forgiveness of my heavenly Father forever because I choose to believe in Him.
I am so glad that I have the opportunity to ask for forgiveness from the only God who loves me with an everlasting love, the living God who will always forgive me and pull me under His wing even though I sinned against him.
To be more Christ-like, I need to actively choose to forgive those who ask for forgiveness and speak the words, “I forgive you,” to them so that they will not be rejected like Judas was. God will forgive me when I ask, but in order to receive that forgiveness, I must also forgive those who offend me.
Without forgiveness, I can’t walk in freedom. Without forgiveness, I can’t walk in love. Without forgiveness, I can’t walk in healthy relationship with my husband, my daughter, my family, my friends, or even my enemies.
Because Judas didn’t seek forgiveness from the right source – Jesus – he didn’t receive the forgiveness and acceptance that he desired and it lead to his despair and suicide. It makes me wonder, had he sought out Jesus, like the thief on the cross, would he have been a great man in the kingdom of God in spite of his betrayal?
Holy Spirit, help me to keep my heart in a place of repentance for my sins and help me forgive those who offend against me. Thank you for prompting me to repent and encouraging me to forgive when I need to. Thank you for not rejecting me when I ask for forgiveness. Help my heart to be soft and clean before you. Amen.
Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India