As a "follow-up" to my "Questions About Judas Iscariot" article, I thought I would say just a little bit about how I personally see the man and the story of his betrayal of Christ. While I also feel no empathy for his actions, the Christ within me cannot help but hope and wish that Judas truly repented of his crime before he died. The tragedy of him spending three and a half years with the greatest individual who ever walked the earth and then ending up lost and damned is very difficult for me to accept.
To me, there is a difference between hating Judas Iscariot and hating what he did. In many ways, he is an enigma. He is a paradox and a self-contradiction of his own existence. His existence was absolutely necessary, but, at the same time, it would have been better (especially for him) had he never been born. His betrayal of Christ was both dispicable and utterly necessary. His life was both a thing to be pitied and to be despised. His death was both horribly tragic and deservingly just.
If Judas had not been the kind of man he was, he could not have betrayed Christ. Without his act of betrayal, Christ may have still went to the cross, but the history of the Christian faith would be entirely different. There is no justification for his actions, and yet, the salvation of the entire world through Christ's death on the cross would almost seem to justify them.
Does the man and his actions deserve to be hated?? Perhaps. But, should Judas Iscariot have "gone to hell"?? On that point, I would say no. If he truly regretted his actions and sincerely repented before God of his crime, then he "qualifies" for God's mercy and forgiveness and the eternal life that his Master's death made possible no less than anyone else.
If I make it to "heaven," I hope with all my heart that I will see Judas Iscariot there. Because, his presence in heaven will be one of the greatest testimonies to God's mercy, compassion, and His incredible desire and willingness to forgive that, perhaps, heaven itself has ever seen. To see Judas Iscariot in heaven would be to see all that we have ever hoped or believed about God or about His Son become a living, breathing reality before our very eyes.