By Greg Laurie - Senior Pastor Harvest Christian Fellowship, Riverside, California
For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
—2 Corinthians 7:10
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 behaviour.
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.