Failure Doubled

Written January 3, 2011.

No man ever died as wretched and wracked with guilt as Judas Iscariot. In fact, it was his guilt that drove him to his grave with a rope around his neck. Yes, he had failed, condemning to death the one and only Messiah. He felt that he was too far gone to redeem himself and that his own death would serve justice. He felt that his actions had destroyed his future; yet his suicide was the ironic fulfillment of his expectations. Had Judas not been so quick to end his own life, he would have witnessed the miraculous paradox: the very death for which he was responsible was the sacrifice for his sin of betrayal, rendering his suicide wholly unnecessary.

Judas was right to repent of his sin, but he went about making it right in the wrong way. His repentance should have led him to change his life, but his skewed perception of justice led him to end it instead. He felt he needed to pay the price for his sin somehow, but he failed to realize that two wrongs, rather than making a right, simply add up to failure doubled.

Peter too betrayed Jesus, denying Him when he should have defended Him. Peter too failed miserably and felt the sting of remorse for his failure. But rather than ending his life, Peter left open the door of potential, knowing that his future could be different. Peter too fulfilled his expectations for himself, becoming a witness to the Gentiles and one of the most influential leaders of the early church, standing up for Christ far more times than he had denied Him. Could that have been Judas? We’ll never know. Judas’ assumption that he was too sinful to be forgiven drove him to a fate of eternal failure; he never gave himself a chance to make something more of his life.

Two men. Two failures. Two solutions.

All too often we react to our mistakes with the same mindset of hopelessness that Judas had: wallowing in our guilt and punishing ourselves for our failure, feeling that to enjoy life or do anything except exist in misery would be to make light of our sin. Or we make the self-centered assumption that we have sinned too greatly to be forgiven. This is an erroneous conclusion, however; in the words of Greg Smith, “Do you really think you’ve messed up so much worse than everybody else that you’re the only one God can’t forgive? That’s conceit, plain and simple!”

Two mindsets. Two conclusions. Two outcomes.

Which one are you? Have you mourned over your sin, accepted your need for forgiveness, and moved on to make the most of the rest of your life? Or have you, in self-pity and cowardly defeat, given up and doubled your failure?

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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