Summary: We all have regrets, things we've done or have had done to us in the past. Paul describes two ways of dealing with these regrets- worldly and godly. Consider these thoughts from our Family Minister Scott Jewell on living without regret.

Our current series is called “What Keeps You Up At Night?” We’ve explored anger/bitterness, concern for family, and today I want to talk about regret. It’s the idea of dealing with our mistakes/sins, whether real or perceived from our past.

Personally, the concept takes me back to my college days when the movie “Rudy” was released. For those who don’t know, Rudy is the story of a young man who was determined to play for the Notre Dame football team and all the struggles he went through to finally achieve getting to play in the final game of his senior year. That movie came out when I was a junior at Bible college, having decided to pursue God’s calling on my life rather than trying to play football at the University of Wisconsin. That year, the Badgers had played one game in Japan and went on to win the Rose Bowl. After watching the movie, I was processing a lot of what ifs and regrets. Now, I’m able to watch that movie and it still impacts me on an emotional level as I remember that time in college, but now I can look back at it with gratitude to God for bringing me to where I am today. He’s given me some incredible ministry opportunities and a great church in which to serve. He’s provided me with a wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters. I wouldn’t trade my life for the world.

The apologetics web site,, defines regret as “sorrow or remorse over something that has happened or that we have done. Regret can also be a sense of disappointment over what has not happened, such as regretting wasted years.”

In our text today, Paul points out that there are two kinds of regret, though he calls it grief- worldly grief and godly grief. Read 2 Corinthians 7:10.

The gospels, especially Matthew, illustrate this contrast as they share the events surrounding the crucifixion. As they tell about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, they also provide a number of side scenarios in which they highlight what transpires for Judas Iscariot and Peter.

It begins in Matthew 26. Judas approaches the chief priests because he knows they are out to get Jesus. He negotiates a deal and agrees to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Of course, Jesus knows what he’s doing and predicts Judas’ betrayal during the last supper. Later that night, as Jesus is praying at Gethsemane, Judas leads a crowd wielding swords and clubs. Judas betrays Jesus with a pre-arranged sign, the Judas Kiss on the cheek.

At this point today, there are a number of reactions to what Judas has done. A lot of us read this narrative and are appalled. “How can he do this? I can’t believe it! What treachery!”

Don Richardson, missionary to the Sawi tribes of New Guinea in the 1960s, shares a different response in his book, “Peace Child.” The Sawi people were cannibalistic and placed a high value on treachery. When the Richardsons began to share the gospel message, the people responded by celebrating what Judas had done to Jesus. Don and his wife were beside themselves, trying to figure out a way to help the people understand that Judas was the heel, not the hero. And then something happened between a couple of warring tribes. One of the chiefs gave his newly born son to the chief of the other tribe to raise as his own. This child was known as the Peace Child. As long as he was cared for and lived, the two tribes would live in peace. Don realized he had found his connecting point. He began to explain that Judas had betrayed the Peace Child that God had given to man so that the two can live in peace. Judas was no longer celebrated and many began to give their lives to Christ.

My personal perspective, the Scott Jewell version if you will, is that Judas, like many other Jews, believed that the messiah would lead Israel in rebellion, free the people from Rome, and rise up to be the next world power. I believe that Judas thought he was forcing Jesus’ hand- he would betray Jesus and the revolution would begin. But then Jesus didn’t resist arrest, even healed the man who lost his ear in the confrontation. Judas realizes he had misread the circumstances and is filled with a worldly regret.

In Matthew 27, we see Judas go to the extreme in handling his regret, he follows a worldly path. Read Matthew 27:3-5. Judas regretted what he’d done, but rather than turning to God with repentance, he turned to his own devices. He goes to the temple, admits he was wrong, and tries to give the silver back. The priests don’t care and tell him that’s on him. Judas gets even more desperate and, deciding he’s out of options, in his worldly regret, he goes and hangs himself.

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