Both had wronged their boss. Separately and apart. Both were sorry for what they had done, but their anguish led them down divergent paths. One went on to lead a full life; the other chose suicide. What made the difference? Attitude.
Faced with the stark reality that what he held in his hand was blood money, a distraught Judas Iscariot wanted none of it. This was more than he had bargained for. Maybe he was a conniving thief or worse, but his sense of honor drew the line at a trumped-up death sentence.
“Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ They said, ‘What is that to us? See to it yourself'” (Matthew 27:3-4 ESV).
Regretting his betrayal and helpless to undo it, Judas’ dark cloud of sorrow blackened into hopeless despair. “And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5 ESV).
That life-changing night Peter, too, felt sorry for what he had done to Jesus. “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:61-62 ESV).
Both Peter and Judas messed up. However, drenched in shame, the two disciples reacted differently to their devastating situation.
- Judas changed his mind; Peter changed his focus.
- Judas was remorseful; Peter was repentant.
- Judas ran from God; Peter ran to God.
“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10 ESV). We live and die with attitude.
(For more on Judas refer to my post of May 19, 2014, “The Mole.” For more on Peter refer to my post of May 26, 2014, “Three Strikes.”)
NOTE: If you are wondering about last week’s giveaway, the results are on my Comings and Goings page. Scroll down to June 5.