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"Avoidable Regrets"

Matthew 27:3-5

This is where Judas regretted his actions against Jesus and tried to go back and reverse what he had done. Although, it's good to at least realize when you have done something regrettable and feel remorse, it's does no good because regrettable actions cannot be reversed. If it's one thing that I have preached over and over again to young people is to avoid making un-bounce-back-able mistakes. Most actions have consequences. This is why people are always urging others to do what's right and to think before they speak and act. There are some mistakes that are more difficult to recover from than others. Many times, we can just apologize for things that we've done to people. Sometimes people forgive us and we move on. However, there are some things that we cannot so easily bounce back from. These are three things that I always share with my students (whether Sunday School or at work) that would be in their best interest to avoid.

  1. Do not have children before you are ready. Children cannot be given back. And I've seen many young people (and just people in general) struggle their way through life because they had to stop and consider the child they have. Many other issues arise and it's much more difficult to navigate through life. Plus, in many cases, the child does not receive the life he deserves or needs because they parents aren't mature enough.

  2. Do not do drugs or alcohol. These are things that people become addicted to and addictions are hard to break. Addictions also cause people to lose their most valuable resources. Those who suffer from addictions are often prone to lose a lot of money, time, and relationships. In most cases, it's very hard to bounce back from losing everything and hitting what society calls "rock bottom".

  3. Avoid a criminal record. Stay out of jail. Don't even start the in-and-out-of-jail lifestyle. A record will follow you everywhere you go and then once you decide to come out the streets or straighten up what you were doing wrong and live clean, it may be more difficult because your options are limited. Records don't always clear easily. And depending on what the offense was, it may not ever be removed.

The biggest problem people have when they make these life-altering mistakes is that they underestimate the amount of turmoil it brings to their lives. The problem with regretting something like this is that there is a chance you are stuck with the consequences. In verse 4, Judas tried to reverse something that was irreversible. He wanted forgiveness and atonement from the priests and tried to wipe his conscience clean by returning the silver, but the priests rejected the silver. He got a look at just how bad things had gotten, but it was only after the bad deed had been done that he saw how bad Jesus's punishment would be. Jesus's sentence would be death if they could get a decree from the government. Many times, people do things for what pleases them at the time without thinking about the outcome. Verse 3 says that when Judas saw that they sought to have Jesus killed, he repented. He regretted his actions, but it was too late. Even after going to the place where he was supposed to get help and forgiveness in the synagogue, he realized that help is not always guaranteed. They told him in verse 4, "And they said, What is that to us? See thou to that." In other words, that's on you and you have to deal with it on your own. The greatest detriment to this whole situation is that you are %100 responsible for your actions and 100% responsible for dealing with the consequences. It is unfair to expect others to be there to help shoulder your mess and help you deal with your consequences. You may be blessed to have or find someone who will, but that's not a guarantee. You cannot get upset when people are not willing to. Most of the time, we know full well that we are engaging in something wrong, but choose to continue anyway. Again, the detriment is that you will have to deal with it alone. No one else can hop into your body and take over for you. You have to navigate the situation for yourself. You have to make the decisions and perform the actions that will put you back on the right track and you have to make the journey alone. The saddest part of the whole story is that Judas was unable to handle his guilt. He was overcome with it and instead of digging himself out and doing the work it would take to get back on track, he gave up. My last point is that you have to avoid this because it may become too much for you to wish to handle. It's not that Judas could not have been redeemed, because he very well could have. Jesus is not about condemnation and unforgiveness. His very nature is love and He came to die so that we could be redeemed. So Judas had at least a chance to see what could happen, but thinking bout the weight of what was happening caused him to opt out. It's the same when we make hefty mistakes. We could work to rectify the situation, but the mistake was too costly which means we will have to gear up to deal with the consequences. Many people cannot handle it. Many do not want to handle it. Climbing back out the hole is too much and many people simply fold. Judas opted out by hanging himself. Hanging can be symbolic for dying spiritually or financially or socially. Your family giving up on you can be a hanging. Losing everything you own because you gambled it all away or spent it all on drugs can be a hanging. You hanging could be you hitting rock bottom on drugs or losing loved ones because you're bitter about your situation or because you have burned so many bridges. Your life is not worth living, so you end up existing from day to day because you are no longer living simply because you don't have the stamina to climb your way back out of the guilty and regret. You don't have the stamina to navigate through the repercussions. Many people are living with a noose. They are hanging alive because they are full of regret.

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