The Redemption of Judas.
Updated: Dec 6, 2022
Love covers a multitude of sin...1 Peter 4:8
By Shantenae Robinson
“Do you REALLY understand the power of love (God's love)?"
I started this blog off with the survey question above, because we are going to go to a deep place today. If you've always known that you would be forgiven, that's great! Stay here and continue to read, because it can also help you with those in your life whom you may feel you can never forgive for what they have done. I have been on both sides of the coin and I'm here to tell you, it's not easy, but neither is staying in a place of unforgiveness....for others and even for yourself.
A little back story.
We all know the story of Judas and him betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and with one of the most affectionate physical vehicles of intimacy, a kiss (you can find the story in Luke 22). But before this, Jesus tells His disciples, that one of you will betray Me. Jesus of course being all knowing, knew it would be Judas, BUT He was making a point of awareness that all of us has a Judas in us and can be the very one to commit the same act we're outraged about. I'm getting a little ahead of myself...so! Judas has never had a perfect record, in fact, Jesus put him in charge of the money, knowing his heart was full of greed, that he was a liar, thief and the major one - he was a traitor. I myself am guilty for looking down on Judas, with a self righteous attitude and saying how could he!? How could you see the miracles of God and betray Him? Oh, but I realized, I myself have a Judas in me.
The Judas in Me.
I have committed horrible actions against those whom I love and care about and this led me to a deep place of guilt and shame...which is right where Judas was when he realized that he sold out his friend, his master...for something that wasn't worth it. Have you ever been in this place? Has someone in your life been in this place? For me, I have struggled with the same issues year after year, of manipulation, of betrayal, of slandering loved ones, of pride and breaking the trust of those that have only loved me. Sound familiar? Each year I would tell myself, ok you're going to do better and be better, but almost like an addiction, I couldn't help myself. I would do good, until I couldn't do good anymore. And when I struggled with knowing I was about to fall, I only lied and manipulated more. I only put on a false face more and more to cover up what I so severely needed saving from. In turn, I broke hearts, shattered friendships and ignited anger.
Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and wondered what made you do certain actions? Commit certain sins? With disgust and disappointment, you drop your head in defeat and wonder, what's the point?
"Love covers a multitude of sin"
When I found myself in this position, I was looking for Jesus, I was looking for a savior that could come and clean up all of my mess. I cried, I wept, I was angry at myself, disappointed that I could even be someone like this. That I could hurt people in this way...and I was a Judas, more than once. So this last time, I was done. Done with life, done with myself and I felt not even God wanted anything to do with me. So I sat there, in a dark place. I lost all hope on my dreams and life and I asked God, why do you keep me here, living, if I was just meant to betray You and others? God didn't say anything, so I grew further and further away from the belief that He loved me. Yes, I had my bible, yes I went to church faithfully, yes I sang songs about God, but none of it was working. Nothing I did jolted a spark of redemption or hope in me. I had no one and nothing that could save me from ME.
So I, being the millennial I am, searched on Google, "was there ever redemptive hope for Judas?". I found nothing, nothing but slander and no's because he was soooo evil and betrayed the Messiah. So I asked God, "if You are Savior and wish for no one to parish and that Your love covers a multitude of sin, why couldn't Judas be forgiven?" And God clarified my shift in blame on Him, "who said Judas couldn't be forgiven?"
That's when I realized, Judas could have been forgiven. Judas understood what he did was wrong. He immediately felt the regret, however, Judas had the incomplete understanding of who Jesus was. If he understood that He was the Messiah, he would have asked for forgiveness. Instead, Judas probably realized the consequences were too great to remain alive. All the people that would hate him, all the people that would cast him away, and even how he ruined God's plan for his life.
Well guess what Judas? I have been there. I have been in the place where no one wants anything to do with you because of the pain and chaos you have caused. I singlehandedly dismantled everything God had placed in my life from relationships to a supportive environment, to set me up for all the love and success I could ever dream of. But I trusted the Judas in me more than I trusted the God above. I trusted that my ways of manipulation, greed and all things self would fulfill my every need, not realizing that those actions would only ever lead to betrayal and pain every single time. And imagine that for those on the receiving end? A scab that never has time to heal. Ever keep bumping the same toe or jamming the same finger, you almost want to just remove it? Yeah...Like me, it wasn't Judas' first time acting in a place of betrayal or initiating some heinous act. The last act was just the needle on the haystack that Judas thought was going to go the way it always does and that he would be okay. But, as we see that wasn't so.
Everyday, I carried the weight of shame and guilt and it was so heavy and hard to bare. Can you see how hard it must have been for Judas to say oh, sure Jesus can forgive me? After the first time...then 5th time...then 15th time...and over and over and over. Judas should have felt guilt and remorse for what he had done, however, like Peter (who denied Jesus, just as Jesus said He would, understood who Jesus was) and he could have waited and trusted in the character of I AM. Feeling guilt and shame should be part of your repentance, but condemning yourself or being condemned by others is not who God is. Instead, it should lead you to godly sorrow and hope in why Jesus died on the cross for us (check out Corinthians 7). I also want to make note as I said above, there is a difference between condemnation and consequence. Even Jesus provides consequences for our sin, He is holy and never has to repent, meaning He won't go against His word, but He will always forgive you and lovingly reprimand you, as His ultimate goal is for you to be saved and make it into eternity with Him and bring about His plan for your life.
Raising my hand, I have thought that the consequences were greater than actually allowing God to work things out in my life. It's scary, its unknown, its out of your control, which is exactly what needs to happen, because if you're anything like me, your comfort and trust in your Judas has only lead to suicide. But, when you allow the refining to happen, when you allow yourself to embrace the discomfort, amazing things can happen, as it did for me. God gave me a mercy like the woman caught in the adulteress act. I didn't deserve it, but He knew what I needed. There was nothing that I could have done, cooked up, schemed up that would have made God move for me in the way He did. And it began to change my perspective on everything I had done...and that has been lifechanging for me.
"If there was no Judas, there would be no Savior"
Now I know you're like, what if I just can't forgive myself and other's won't forgive me and I've ruined God's big plans for my life. I had to chuckle a little, because these are actual words I have spoken and I clearly think I have God's strength to accomplish this. This just means you still haven't been perfected in God's love. You're still looking at your sin, not understanding who Jesus is. You're still not realizing it is all part of God's plan, for Him to bring you closer to Him, to remove those things from you, to help you love better, know Him better and to love others better. His plans and thoughts for us are always good, because He is good, Jerimiah 29:11 tells us so. You don't have to worry about, well, God is going to get me and others will hate me if I go through the consequences and stay the course to try and make things right...see you're still worried about the things that don't matter. You have to understand that God knew Judas was Judas, before Judas knew Judas was Judas. He knows us deeper than we know ourselves. Just like God knew I would make the same mistake over, and over and over and over again. He knew how much pain it would cause, how much disruption, and for me, believing it was all going to work out for my good...was far from my mind and it's still taking time to set in now. What about for that person/people you've hurt? What about their good? What about the sleepless nights you've caused them? The discomfort? How will all of that work out for good? Now, I don't have that answer, because again, I'm still walking this journey with you! And I can only tell you, that that's what God says.
But, how do you not know that the biggest misstep/mistake of your life, isn't a set up for God to get all the glory and bring you to a place you thought you would never be? And for those who feel they can't forgive others, can God show the same grace to others as He has for you? Or that you might need in the future?
There is hope in grace.
Do you see now, that Judas was part of the divine plan that God had to redeem man, but he couldn't get past his guilt and shame. I would encourage you to stay the course with God. He's working everything out, even when you can't see it or don't know where to go or what to do. Keep trusting Him, talk to Him, tell Him your fears, your worries, your pain, and WATCH Him work. You won't always hear Him, you won't always see Him, but you can always know that He is doing just as He said He would do. So don't give up. Don't be moved by your right now and what your mind is telling you, that it's over. If God woke you up and you are reading this, then it's not over. We don't serve a cruel God. We don't serve a God that makes us figure it out all by ourselves or who we have to be perfect with. He will gently guide you, He will turn those against you for you, He will bring the promises He made to you to you, just keep trusting (even when you don't understand or don't "feel" like you are). Life won't always make sense, but I trust the One who has lived this life before me and after me.
Here is a little song to uplift your spirits today - Tasha Cobbs Leonard - In Spite Of Me (ft. Ciara)