Dealing With Mistakes Like Simon Peter or Judas Iscariot
Mistakes! I have made plenty of them in my lifetime. In fact, I have no way of counting the volume of errors I have made. I could beat myself up about this. However, I was taught well by my parents and my church that “forgiveness” and “restoration” are core principles of my Christian faith.
Do not misunderstand what I am saying. Mistakes are not to be recklessly and freely practiced. They are to be avoided with every ounce of our energy, but they do happen. Some of the smartest people I have known have made terrible choices.
There were two persons in the New Testament who made some bad decisions.
Judas Iscariot and Simon Peter were disciples of Jesus. These two men followed Jesus along with ten other men for a three-year period. When it came to the conclusion of Christ’s ministry here on earth, these two men were marked by bad choices.
Before Jesus was arrested by the authorities, Judas made a deal with those who were after Christ. For thirty pieces of silver, he would take them to a garden, walk up to Jesus, kiss him on the cheek and he would be arrested and taken to court.
After this was done Judas saw his terrible mistake. Some scholars believe that Judas was expecting Jesus to flex his spiritual muscles and take over the territory as ruler and king. There were those willing to fight for Jesus. While he was being arrested one of the disciple drew his sword and chopped off the ear of one those there to arrest the Rabbi. Jesus’ response was to stop the violence, pick up the ear and heal the man.(Luke 22) This action may not have been what Judas was expecting. Obviously, Judas knew he had made a mistake.
After the conviction of Jesus, Judas attempted to correct his mistake by taking the money back. Those who arrested Christ would not negotiate. Judas realized his action as a big mistake. The Bible story says that Judas found a rope, a tree and hung himself. (Matthew 26 and 27)
There are many opinions about Judas, and there are many interpretations of what kind of man he was. One thing is sure; Judas knew he had made a mistake. He had made such a misjudgment, which in his opinion, there was no way to correct it. Therefore, Judas felt that taking his life was the only way out.
Simon Peter’s Mistake
After Jesus was arrested and the authorities took him to court, Peter sat outside with others who had come to the event. Someone said to Peter, “You are one of his disciples, aren’t you?” Peter responded by saying that he never knew the man.
Peter was approached two other times and questioned about his relationship with Jesus. Peter denied that he ever knew Jesus at all. On the third time that he was asked about knowing Jesus his denial became intense. Peter cursed to say, “I never knew the man!” (John 18:15-27)
The denial of his best friend! What a mistake.
After his third denial, Peter was so convicted that he ran off from the court area and found a private place and cried.
This rough fisherman was broken.
After his mistake, Simon did not go out and hang himself. I am sure he recalled the words of Jesus about “forgiveness.” He claimed the forgiveness that Jesus offered and became one of the greatest leaders the church has ever known. (Matthew 26:71-75)
How Do You Deal With Mistakes?
Do you beat yourself up and destroy the character that God has made in you? Or, do you accept the fact that a mistake was made, ask for forgiveness, and get on with it?
I have often wondered what would have happened if Judas Iscariot would have asked Jesus for forgiveness rather than hanging himself. I believe that he could have become one of the greatest leaders of the New Testament church. He could have taken his mistake of betraying Christ and had a compelling story to tell of what it would have felt like to hear Jesus say, “Judas, you are forgiven!” What would it have looked like to have had Judas writing as many New Testament books as the Apostle Paul?
Never doubt it, mistakes will be made. How you respond to those mistakes is a personal choice. One of the great gifts of being a Christian is that statement that Jesus made while hanging on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
Sometimes we all make the wrong choices, but forgiveness is available if you want it.
The choice is yours. You can be a Judas Iscariot or a Simon Peter. I choose to be like Simon!