I grew up in a good Christian home, but somehow I took a wrong turn and now I'm in prison. I feel like I've betrayed Jesus (like Judas did) and I'm afraid God will never forgive me for what I've done. After all, He didn't forgive Judas, did He? — M.H.
No, God did not forgive Judas for his treachery in betraying Jesus—but then Judas never repented of his sins and asked God to forgive him. He was sorry for what he did; he even took his own life out of regret. But being sorry for our sins isn't the same as repenting of them and asking God to forgive us—and Judas never took that step.
But do you remember Peter, another of Jesus' little band of followers? Peter boldly said he would never turn his back on Jesus, but after Jesus' arrest, Peter denied even knowing Him—not once, but three times. Like Judas, Peter later regretted what he had done; the Bible says "he went outside and wept bitterly" (Matthew 26:75).
But Peter did something more: He sought God's forgiveness—and God forgave him, and Peter became one of the greatest Christians the world has ever known. Listen: If God could forgive Peter, He can forgive you. And He wants to forgive you, because He loves you. You may have turned your back on Christ but He hasn't turned His back on you.
The Bible's promise is for you: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Turn to Jesus today and ask Him to come into your life and cleanse you—and He will.