Summary: Judas experienced regrets but not repentance. We all have regrets. But God's asking us to release it.
'HAD I KNOWN': LIVING WITHOUT REGRET
"Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders," Matthew 27:3.
For thirty silver coins, Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ. When he received his payment and saw that Jesus had been condemned, he became remorseful. Judas was so filled with regret, that he killed himself. Taking place at about the same time, we read of Peter denying Jesus before the crucifixion. First Peter confidently says: “......“Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” Matthew 26:33. Yet that very night, Peter denied Him three separate times. "And he went outside and wept bitterly." Matthew 25:75. Peter made a promise, broke it and was sorrowful. He made a pledge, couldn't keep it and experienced regrets. Just like Judas, Peter betrayed the Son of God and his regret is evident; we read that he “wept bitterly.” Peter experienced a restoration. The Gospel of John chapter 21 verses 15 to 19 is the story of his reinstatement.
“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10.
The stories of Peter and Judas are clear examples of the difference between “godly sorrow” and “worldly sorrow.” One man’s sorrow led to death. The other’s led to salvation and life. That is the difference between worldly and godly sorrow. Regrets can be beneficial if they lead to repentance. And when they do, we must understand that God forgives us of our sins, and it is His desire that we now move forward into what He called us to do. That's godly sorrow. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and life. Godly sorrow leaves no room for regrets. But worldly sorrow is like that of a criminal getting caught breaking the law and made to suffer for it. They may be sorry they got caught, and regretful that they’re going to be in prison for a while, but it doesn’t lead to repentance. When he or she is out of the prison, they return to their criminal ways. With worldly sorrow, a person may admit an act was wrong without being sorry. Worldly sorrow is more concerned with avoiding the consequences of wrong doing or mistakes. With worldly sorrow, the sinner may try to hide his guilt. And if his sin is exposed, instead of changing, he may be angry.
Judas Iscariot experienced regret but not repentance. Regret and repentance are two different things. Regret is wishing something had never happened. Repentance is taking action to prevent something from happening again. Regret leads to remorse, but only repentance leads to change.
WE ALL HAVE REGRETS:
If there is a things that prevent us from reaching our glorious destinies and purposes, it is regrets. The word “regret” is defined as, “sorrow or grieving or distress over a desire unfulfilled or an action performed or not performed.” We all have regrets. None of us is perfect! There are actions we try to bury but keep coming back to torment us. Regrets can confine us in the past, consume our present, and incapacitate our future. It halt progress. Regret may be a prison. But we are our own jailers. Regrets leaves us questioning our decisions, judgement and character.
Regret occurs in two ways: things we regret we did and things we regret we didn’t do. Our lives are often filled with would have been, should have been, and could have been. Life's filled with many 'had I known' Perhaps you regret a decision you made in a haste. Maybe it's an opportunity lost. Perhaps you're studying the wrong course (or not studying at all!) Maybe you regret a word spoken or not spoken. Perhaps you were in a relationship which ended badly and now regretting what you could have done to make things right. Maybe you regret a job offer you didn’t take or the better job you left for the present one. Perhaps it's a message or a phone call in the moment of anger. Maybe you regret not being more bold. Perhaps its because you spread a gossip that hurt a relationship. Maybe you regret not saying yes to a good man that approached you for marriage and now it's the bad ones proposing. Perhaps it's not spending enough time at home with your family. You may be regretting the opportunities you've missed. Perhaps it's marrying the wrong person.
Every one of us has missed opportunities! But God's saying today, “I can restore the seasons, the times, the opportunities, and the years that you’ve lost.” Things may not have gone your way in the past, but God has new opportunities for you. Don’t let lost opportunities make you feel discouraged.