Remorse or Repentance?
For godly sorrow
produces repentance leading to salvation,
not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the
world produces death.
There is a difference between repentance
and remorse. Remorse is being sorry you got caught.
For example, if you were to rob a bank, get away
with it for awhile, and then are arrested, you are
remorseful. Why? Because you got caught.
Or, as you are driving down the freeway and get
pulled over by the highway patrol, you are
remorseful. Why? Because you got caught, not because
you broke the speed limit. That isn't repentance;
that is remorse. Repentance is being sorry enough to
stop what you are doing and change your behavior.
Judas Iscariot was remorseful about his betrayal of
Jesus. He knew Jesus was innocent. He knew what he
did was wrong. And if he was repentant, he still
could have turned to Jesus. But instead, he turned
to the religious leaders.
And what did that do for him? They said, in effect,
"You know what? What is that to us? That is your
problem. You have served your purpose. Get out of
here." That is so typical of this world. It promises
freedom, but it brings slavery. It promises
enjoyment, but it brings guilt. Instead of
happiness, it brings sorrow. Instead of pleasure, it
brings pain. Judas did not have a friend in the
world except Jesus, and he betrayed Him. So Judas
turned to religion, and religion had nothing to
offer him. He needed Christ.
Religion is like getting a Band-Aid when you need
open-heart surgery. We don't need a little religion,
because a little religion—or even a lot of it—won't
help us. We need a lot of Jesus.
Where will your guilt drive you? If you feel guilt
for your sin, here is where you need to go: to
Christ. That is the only place to go.