“I have sinned… and betrayed innocent blood”. (Matthew 27:4)
Has this ever happened at your house?The kids are arguing. Things escalate. Liam pushes Lucy. Lucy falls and unfortunately hits her head. Loud crying ensues. Mom hears the commotion and comes running. Liam is in big trouble. Hoping for a teachable moment the wise parent says, “Tell your sister you are sorry!” Not convinced of the sincerity, ‘Solomon’ says, “Now say it again like you really mean it.”
That mom’s sagacity reminds us of the difference between ‘I’m sorry I did it’ and ‘I’m sorry I got caught.’
Or to put it another way, it’s the distinction between confession (admitting my sin) and repentance (turning from my sin).
In our narrative, Judas admits his wrongdoing (“I have sinned and shed innocent blood”), but kept on doing wrong (“and he went out and hung himself”).
Furthermore, the confession was inappropriately placed. Rather than to the Holy Father it was told to his partners in crime. Sorry, but true forgiveness of sin comes only through Him who gave his life as a debt settlement.
So what should happen when ‘disciples’ stumble and fall? I say, “Own it and move on.” With God’s help and strength and a willingness to change, good things can happen.
They did for the other disciple who denied Christ.