Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3389

Jump Start # 3389

Matthew 27:5 “And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.”

  Our verse isn’t one of those cheerful passages that lifts our spirits and encourages us throughout the day. It’s not a verse that you’ll find on greeting cards or on a sign in someone’s home. Many would just as soon not know about this and leave it at that. God chose to put this in His recorded word for all time. One of the chosen ones, one close to Jesus, one who heard the words, and saw the miracles, disgraced the Lord and took his life.

  As Judas returns the money he was given to sell out Jesus, he states, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” He knew. He knew what he did was wrong. He knew Jesus was right. He knew Jesus was innocent. Shame, remorse, guilt and regret can wreck our faith with the Lord. For some reason, parents are good at laying guilt upon their grown children. “You haven’t been by to see me in a long time,” they will say. We know that, but the added guilt just makes matters worse.

  Guilt is a feeling and an emotion that comes from realizing that we have done something wrong. Judas realized it and Judas felt it. Like all feelings, emotions, they can have a productive and useful channel that helps us or they can flow over the banks, like a river, and cause a lot of damage. Guilt is that way. In the right channel, it can lead us to stepping up our game and improving ourselves. Guilt can lead to course corrections. But overcome with guilt, and one starts thinking about hurting themselves, as Judas did.

  There is one major source that give us spiritual guilt.

  First, is misunderstanding God. This is where the one talent man stood. He said, “I was afraid and went away and hid your talent in the ground” (Mt 25:25). Why was he afraid? He thought his master was a “hard man.” He explained it as, ‘reaping where you did not sow.’ Now, how would that work? If you didn’t plant, then you are not going to gather a harvest. The one talent man did not understand his master.

  And, when we misunderstand God, guilt and shame surround us. Some see God as peeking behind a shrub with His spiritual radar gun pointed at us, just like the police might do on a highway. God is seen as just waiting to catch us doing wrong. This misunderstanding will make one nervous around God. It’s like talking to an English teacher and she stops and corrects you with every sentence you say. After a short time, you just quit talking because you feel that she will correct you again.

  Others, view God like a high school football coach. He’s demanding. He is never pleased. More sprints. Faster time. More effort. More. More. More. Never satisfied and always wanting more. That’s how some see God. Read a chapter in the Bible today? Should have read two. Did something nice today? Should have done two more nice things.

  And, with this misunderstanding about God, we are like the piano student who is trying her best to play every note perfectly. She cannot enjoy what she is doing, for fear that she’ll make a mistake. She is so focused upon perfection that she doesn’t like playing the piano. And, for some disciples, that’s where they stand with God. They can’t enjoy worship, fellowship, or their walk with God for fear that they’ll say the wrong thing, mess up somewhere, or simply forget something. Their journey with the Lord is laborious, intense, and hard. Duty has replaced desire and trying to please God has replaced the love of the Lord.

  The problem with all of this is that we have manufactured that concept of God. You don’t see that in the Gospels. The thief on the cross—what did he know about Jesus? Not a whole lot. The Samaritan woman at the well, in John 4. Her life was a mess, yet she ran in excitement to tell others about the Messiah. The prodigal coming home, found love and favor from his father.

  We try to impress God with perfection and we can’t.  Imagine your child drawing a stick figure of himself and you and an odd shaped heart telling that he loves you. Do you mail that picture to the local art gallery? You even have to ask him, “which one is you and which one is me?” But drawn in love, given in love, it makes your heart swell. Is it a good picture? Technically, no. But, save it and it becomes one of your treasured keepsakes.

  The love and grace of God is what is extended to us. Does that mean we don’t have to try? Why would such an attitude even ask that question? Does that mean we can bring in the elephants to worship and turn it into a sideshow? Is that how we’d show our love to God? Would God love that? Stick figures is what we present, but it’s presented in love and meant to please our Lord.

  Judas felt guilt. Had he raced back to the line marching Jesus to the city, falling to his knees and with tears in his eyes, saying, “I’m so sorry,” you know what our Savior would have done. He would have forgiven Judas. A broken and contrite heart God will not despise.

  But Judas didn’t do that. He ended his life. And for thousands, since Judas, they have ended their faith and their walk with the Lord. Shame. Guilt. Remorse. Regret. So much, wrapped around a view of God that is not true and is not healthy.

  God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…