Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled . . . concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry. Acts 1:16-17
At my lowest point, in the disastrous consequences of my addictive, destructive behavior, I got to the point where I thought I’d be better off dead. When it looked like my career and marriage were over, I had those moments in which I experienced the darkness and despair of absolute hopelessness. I knew that things would get better if I could stay sober, but I’d failed so many times, that I just didn’t know if that was possible. I felt like I was just going to continue relapsing and that there simply could be no redemption for my life. In that state, it appeared I had nothing to live for and so, it just seemed it would be better if I were gone. I knew I couldn’t do it myself, so, I prayed, asking God to strike me down.
He didn’t of course, and eventually, as I experienced God’s forgiveness and began turning from myself to follow him, he restored my hope for the future. It took a long time to turn my life around, but as long as I had hope, I could get up every day and make a genuine effort to continue pursuing faith, life, and recovery. I don’t know what I would have done if I’d lost the hope that God could transform my life.
This must be where Judas found himself. Having betrayed Jesus to his death, Judas was filled with fatalistic remorse. He’d sacrificed to follow Jesus. He’d shared in the disciple’s fellowship. Then, in his greed, he’d turned on Jesus. Maybe he thought Jesus could escape. Maybe he just didn’t think it through. Whatever his justification, he’d failed Christ in such a way that he must have thought he could never be forgiven. In his misery and shame, he killed himself. In doing so, he never had the chance to return to Christ, finding forgiveness and hope.
I don’t always know what to say to others in their despair. I don’t know exactly what they’re going through. I can only tell of what I’ve found to be true in my life – that in Christ, there is always hope for the future. Ours is a God of transformation and in him, we can always find forgiveness, hope, and new life.