If You're Heading in the Wrong Direction, God Allows U-Turns
Is it too late to repent?
Perhaps you're familiar with this phrase or a similar facsimilie of it, having seen it emblazoned on the chowder-stained t-shirt of the woman at the local soup kitchen or on the bumper sticker of a Silver Honda Accord on a bustling highway. For me it was a form of the latter, having glimpsed a version of the T-Shirt while thumbing through a Christmas Merchandise Catalog earlier this morning.
If you are heading in the wrong direction, God allows U-Turns.
.......do you truly believe this?
I would surmise that a number of people, believers or otherwise, do not. Despite mountains of Biblical evidence that consistently sights God's unrelenting and unconditional and subsequent forgiveness that He mercifully grants to all of his children, there are many who simply believe that they are too far gone, undeserving of God's forgiveness and blessing.
Well for one thing, guilt and shame are extremely powerful emotions. Much time is spent discussing the human conscience. I write this article in the immediate and devastating aftermath of the Newtown Shooting Rampage, an abomidable day for humanity, one in which we witnessed the most ghastly of all crimes, that which is perpetrated on young children (....."and everyone who commits an offense against one of these little ones who believe in me, it were profitable for him that a donkey's millstone would be hung around his neck and he be sunk in the depths of the sea.” - Matthew 18:6).
Gruesome imagery of bloodshed and unthinkable violence aside, a truly accurate and thoroughly comprehensive definition of psychopathy would include a very key component; the psychopath's inability to feel guilt or remorse. Simply put, the individual is devoid of a conscience. Even now, experts from every discipline in the field are attempting to better understand the shooter's motives and over the next few weeks those motives will undoubtedly be better understood. Our Society has a fascination with trying to better understand evil that manifests itself in the form of a severely under-developed conscience.
But what about an over-developed conscience?
An individual saddled with unending and oftentimes unfounded guilt is in fact incapable of becoming a true disciple of Christ. The emotional and even physical effects of drowning in an ocean of bitter remorse can have on a person is stifling and it must be addressed. The Sacrament of Penance could very well be the bridge to freedom. By partaking of this Sacrament and truly believing in what it stands for, one will encounter God's true healing grace and finally remove the proverbial albatross from his or her neck.
Bottom line: one must seek to develop a properly balanced conscience. It takes time, thorough reflection and perhaps most importantly, God's help. Pray to Him for the wisdom of this great gift.
Of course there are other reasons why it is difficult for us to truly grasp God's ability to forgive. As mere humans, we live in a world of imperfect love. We strive for perfection in our spousal relationships as well as those with our friends and family members but we will never achieve it. As a result, we believe that ultimate forgiveness of our wrongdoings is impossible, once again because we simply cannot achieve it nor do we witness it in our day-to-day encounters.
As we get caught up in the day-to-day grind, it is very easy to forget that our relationship and expectations should be different with God than they are with the people in our lives, simply because with God, "all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26) a resounding Christian Message most recently revisited on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception less than 2 weeks ago.
Believe in God's incredible forgiveness. It is truly one of the greatest gifts that He has bestowed upon us all.