The Remorse of Judas

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In remorse, Judas Iscariot throws down the 30 pieces of silver he received in payment for betraying Christ. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Judas did not have any qualms betraying Jesus to the chief priests and elders for thirty pieces of silver. But when he realized that he just betrayed innocent blood, he was seized with remorse and returned the money. But the leaders felt nothing but indifference to his anguish. So he threw the money away and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:1-5)

When I make a mistake, and I become fully aware that I have done so, I feel bad about myself. This is especially true when other people are placed in harm’s way, physically or emotionally. In certain cases, it will even lead me to such despair, that I start thinking of harming myself, and going Judas’ way.

But I am reminded that this is not what God wants for me. I truly believe that God wants me to live, free from despair and regret.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. — 2 Corinthians 7:10

So all I need to do is

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord — Acts 3:19

I understand repentance as permanently turning away from the destructive behavior that has caused me so much despair, and turning to God, that I might free myself of guilt, and enjoy everlasting peace with myself and my fellowmen.

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Photograph of Aldous Huxley in 1947.

“Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment.  If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.” ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

I may feel remorse for the mistakes that I have made, but I need not go Judas’ way.

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