We all have times in life when we do something that we regret, something that we are sorry for. But, there are different kinds of being sorry and which type of sorrow we have will have a lot to do with the course our life takes from that moment forward.
The bible talks about two kinds of sorrow,
2 Corinthians 7:10
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
Godly sorrow or worldly sorrow
Repentance or regret
Life or death
The bible also shows us what each of these look like in the stories of Peter and Judas.
There are many similarities to Peter and Judas. Both were apostles, both followed Jesus for 3 years, listened to the same teaching and saw the same miracles. Both were told by Jesus that they would fail him. Both turned their backs on Jesus, Peter in his denial and Judas in his betrayal. Both were sorry, but that is where the similarities end. The kind of sorrow they each had was very different and led to very different outcomes.
In Matthew 26 starting in vs 69 we read the account of Peter’s denial. In the courtyard, as he denies Jesus for the third time, swearing that he doesn’t know him, he hears the rooster crow and immediately remembers what Jesus had told him in vs 34 of the same chapter.
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” Matthew 26:34
The Bible says that Peter went outside and “…wept bitterly“(vs.75). They were not just tears of sorrow, they were tears of godly sorrow, tears of repentance. Sorrow for what he had done to Jesus. Humble tears that would bring healing and put him in the position to be reinstated by Jesus in John chapter 21. Repentance brings restoration, it brings healing, it brings life. We know the kind of man who Peter went on to be, bold, unwavering in his life and in his death.
Then we have Judas. Judas, who in Luke 22 goes to the chief priests and officials and works out a plan to betray Jesus. They agree and even offer to pay him to do it, which he consents to do. He then awaits his moment and after being sent away from the last supper by Jesus, who predicts his betrayal to him, he infamously leads the guards to the garden where Jesus is praying and betrays him with a kiss.
I often wonder what Judas thought was going to happen to Jesus. The Bible tells us in Matthew 27 that after Jesus was condemned he was “…seized with remorse and returned the silver coins to the chief priests and the elders.” vs.3. He turned to the chief priests and elders admitting his guilt and what did they do? Nothing! They placed the blame totally on him. Then Judas, feeling hopeless, went out and hung himself.
The kind of sorrow that Judas had was worldly sorrow, overwhelmed in his guilt and regret, he saw no way out but death. How very sad. What he truly needed was Jesus! He missed as we so often do what Jesus had been telling them for the past 3 years. He watched Jesus forgive sins, heal the sick, feed the 5,000, and drive out demons. He watched Jesus raise the dead, yet in his moment of remorse, he didn’t turn to the only one who could save him!
It is no different in our own lives. So often when we have done something we regret, we turn to everything but Jesus. We run from him when we need to run to him.
As we get ready to celebrate Easter, let’s remember what Jesus accomplished for us through his life, death, and resurrection. Jesus already paid the price for all our sins, past, present, and future and because of that we can run to Him when we have sinned. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can respond to our sin with godly sorrow and repentance going forth with no regrets. The other option, respond like Judas and go down a path that leads only to death.
Lord help us! Open our ears to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit calling us to repentance that leads to salvation so that we can go forth with no regrets!