Posted by: Rex Boyles | January 30, 2008

“Then he went away …”

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
(Matthew 27:3-5; NIV)

Let me set the record straight. I have never had any sympathy for Judas. But is my sin so different than his? Did I not betray Jesus and the position of trust I had within the Kingdom … just as he did? (I understand why there are “brothers” who still are offended at me.)

But maybe it is worth noting … that Judas was seized with remorse – returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned for I have betrayed innocent blood.” He confessed his sin … grieved over his betrayal … and tried to make it right.

The response of those who were ordained by God to bring men back to God? They ignored his confession … mocked his repentance. “We want nothing to do with this or you. Besides it is your own fault.” (Rex’s revised) They were certainly ready to hold him accountable.

I hope it’s never happens to you … but some of us know – first hand – how it feels.

You are remorseful for something you have done … you confessed, apologized, asked for forgiveness, asked for help, sat speechless in front of an accuser not able to find the words to express your heart’s sorrow.

The person you sought out to hear your confession basically leaves you “hanging”. Turns you away with either another accusation or an “elder brother” comment of “I have nothing to do with that. It is your own fault.”

The ones that should help you … end up hurting you.

The ones that should show you the way to receive the Lord’s forgiveness … impose a death sentence on your heart.

Sometimes the one you finally trusted to share what you thought you would never share,  turn you away with … “Are you just looking for attention?”

What do you do? What do you do when you’ve done what you’ve been taught to do … repent – confess – pray … is not enough? When those who taught you say “What’s that to us?” Where do you turn when your teachers become your accusers? When your brothers become your betrayers?

Too often … we just go away. 

But don’t go … please. I know how bad it hurts to be the betrayer. I know that you are so ashamed that you do not want to face anyone. I know that there will be “well-meaning” people, who will hurt you at worst or pass by on the “other side” at best. I know that you would rather die than live like this. I know …

But I also know that the Father will run to meet you … the Son will stand with you to defend you … the Spirit will help you explain it all … and a small but growing fellowship of prodigals waits to celebrate your return.

I do not understand all of the theology that is rooted in the Judas legacy … but I know that the very people God assigned to help him be reconciled to God – exiled him away from the One, who was a friend of sinners … who would offer a thief a ride home to glory … who would take another betrayer for a walk on the beach. May God damn that spirit of self-importance in our priesthood of believers … that spirit of “What is that to us?” … and revive in us a spirit that declares and demonstrates, “Welcome home!”   

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