Tuesday in the Thirty-First Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 27:3-10; Acts 1:18-19

Choose Godly Sorrow over Worldly Sorrow

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).  There is godly grief and there is worldly grief.  Paul goes on to describe what godly grief produced in the Corinthians: “See what earnestness…what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment!”  Godly grief hurts badly, but it makes us zealous to confess our sins, receive forgiveness, and make things right as best we can.  Godly grief calls for the courage to take one’s lumps, and then go out and testify to God’s great love even in the midst of severe discipline.  On the other hand, worldly grief refuses to be held accountable.  It either wants to forget the whole matter, thereby letting the heart grow hard, or wallow in self-pity and loathing, which in a perverse way makes the person feel better while never resolving the matter by bringing it to the Lord and offended parties and asking forgiveness.

In the case of Judas, worldly sorrow led to despair.  We all have sins in our lives we wish we could forget; sins of our youth, recent sins, sins that make us cringe when we look in the mirror, perhaps sins we can’t seem to stop committing.  In Judas’ case, he brought on the death of an innocent man for a few pieces of silver.  He realized what he had done.  He repented in the sense that he changed his mind about what he had done, but he was unchanged in his heart.  I am reminded of David, who was also responsible for killing an innocent man after committing adultery with his wife.  But when confronted, and faced with the punishment of his sin (the death of the baby and the future trouble that would come upon his house), he didn’t take his life.  He first prayed for the life of the child.  And when the Lord took the child anyway, David still did not despair.  What did he do?  He cleaned himself up, went into the house of the Lord, and worshiped (2 Samuel 12:15-23).

David was a man after God’s own heart not because he was perfect, but because he always ran to God and repented.  Judas ran inward, away from God, and could only feel despair.  I’ve done this as well.  The worst thing you can do when you have sinned a great sin is to get lost inside your own head.  Yes, there will be consequences but it is better to pay them than to fear them, and it is better to confess and make things right, if one can, than to beat oneself up to no good forever.  Despair is lack of faith in God.  God is a God of life.  I personally feel a kinship to Judas, and am very sorry for him.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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