Text: Matthew 27:5

And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.  (NASB)

Judas renounced his betrayal by “throwing” the thirty pieces of silver into the “sanctuary.”    Then he knew the betrayal was wrong, and he loathed himself.  He tried to distance himself from his failure.  However, trying to renounce the deed by returning the money was ineffective!  The only effective way to deal with our evil is (a) to own our failure and (b) to accept forgiveness.  The purpose of repentance is NOT (a) to take matters into our own hands (b) to try to demonstrate goodness and deservedness.  Repentance declares unconditional personal accountability and unworthiness.

Judas was not trying to demonstrate worthiness.  He was declaring self-loathing.  He declared self-loathing in numerous ways: (1) He returned the money.  (2) He killed himself.  (3) He killed himself in a manner that was cursed by Jewish law (Deuteronomy 21:22, 23).  He had no tolerance for himself, and he sought no consideration from others.  He deserved no respect, and he sought none.  He is to this day a classic study in how NOT to deal with your own evil.

It is easy to condemn Judas, but hard to admit our own failings.  It is easy to use Judas’ act to justify our behavior (“We are not that bad!”), but hard to accept our own evil without excuse.  It is easy to hold Judas in contempt, but difficult to see (honestly) our own need.  Because Judas repented in an ineffective manner does not excuse our ineffectiveness in dealing with personal evil motives and acts.

Nothing declares our need of God more than our ineffectiveness in dealing with personal evil.  Whether intentional or unrecognized, “self” destruction rectifies nothing.  It only compounds the problem.  The only way to deal with evil is to accept forgiveness and begin anew.  Only God through Christ can allow that to happen.

Suggestion for reflection: How do you deal with personal failure?  (Read Colossians 3:1-11.)

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