The human being was not designed to sin, much less carry their fully realized guilt of great sin. For example, when someone goes on a murderous rampage they quite often finish it by suicide. Their suicide is either by their own hand, or they force the authorities to shoot them (this is often called, “suicide by cop”).
The realization of the enormity of their guilt comes crashing down on them and in that moment they become absolutely guilt ridden and hopeless. This has been the most prominent final outcome in school massacres, in shopping mall murder sprees, and in family domestic conflicts that result in murder/suicides.
Sometimes the murderer comes close to suicide like O.J. Simpson in his infamous suicide-threatening ride in the back seat of a White Bronco after his “alleged” murder of Ron Goldman and Nichole Brown. He portrayed all of the symptoms of a human being that had just been crushed by the weight of realizing a great sin. If murderers survive their own drive to commit suicide, their only remaining options are to become hard-hearted and defensive, or to find genuine forgiveness. O.J. Simpson has not yet found forgiveness, so he remains hard-hearted and defensive to this day.
The Lord had two disciples that committed the enormous sins of denial and betrayal of their savior. Both of them, after their sin was committed, experienced the guilt induced motivation to commit suicide. One followed through and the other didn’t. One found forgiveness, the other didn’t. One found relief, the other didn’t.
Judas Iscariot was a chosen disciple of the Lord. He was the treasurer for the ministry, and he used to help himself to the funds for his own desires. Upon betraying Jesus for more money, he was hit with the enormous guilt of what he had done. His guilt induced him to commit suicide.
“When Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver… Then he went away and hanged himself.”
~ Matthew 27:3-5
Peter (aka Simon) was another one of Jesus’ disciples, a fiery and speak-before-you-think kind of guy. Jesus even forewarned him that the enemy had sought permission to tempt him and to separate him out like a stone is sifted out of the wheat. Jesus then said something very significant to Peter, and it is very significant for us:
“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
~ Luke 22:32
Why did Jesus pray for Peter’s faith to not fail, and yet Peter still denied knowing Christ three times later that night? It is because Peter’s faith was not built upon his own “sinless” and “righteous” activities; if it were, Peter’s faith would have been a complete failure very early in his walk with Christ. No, Peter’s faith was to be founded upon the forgiveness of Christ.
Jesus knew that Peter too would face the guilt-induced suicidal tendency, he would either commit physical suicide like Judas, or he would commit spiritual suicide by separating himself from Christ and his fellow brothers.
Have you recently sinned greatly? Are you feeling the weight of your guilt, seeing the depths of the darkness of your sin? Have you denied the Lord by actions and/or by words? Are you being driven to commit physical suicide or spiritual suicide?
The ONLY relief that is available to us is this: the forgiveness of Christ! And to receive His forgiveness we must, we MUST return to Him just as Peter did. When Peter overcame the guilt-induced suicidal drive (that which Jesus had prayed that he would overcome) he returned to Christ and once again took his place in God’s plan for him to be an outstanding Apostle of Christ and a historic pillar of the Church.
You may have failed Christ in so many ways, you may feel the dark loneliness and weight of your guilt, you may feel a fraction of the heart-sinking disappointment that God has felt because of you, and you may think that you cannot bear the torture of the hard-pressing and heart-pressing guilt.
But Jesus has prayed for you, that your faith will not fail. This is the moment for which He was praying, that now, in this very moment after you have sinned, you would not turn to a form of suicide, but turn back to Him! That your faith would be built upon His forgiveness!
Sure, you will need some healing (Peter seemed to require some time to warm back up to Jesus), but the healing process only begins at the moment of forgiveness… His forgiveness for you! Peter’s Day of Pentecost soon followed when he was filled, anointed, and empowered by the Holy Spirit and he received a renewed outlook on himself, on life, on ministry, and on eternity. Most of all, his vision of Jesus was changed from the natural to the glorified!
See you at the foot of the Cross of Christ, where we all can overcome the guilt-inducement to suicide.
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