My husband is a movie-lover. He watches a movie every night when he is not watching football. I don’t usually join him – too much blood most of the time. Last night I was sick with a cold and saw this interesting movie about family woes. Rachel’s sister Kym (Ann Hathaway) struggles with terrible guilt for having caused the death of her little brother. As she explained the weight of that guilt, she said (as I remember), “I cannot forgive myself, and can’t believe in a God who will.” And later, “What am I supposed to be now? Even if I were Mother Theresa I could not remedy what I have done.”
She is so right. I think with sadness of days gone by when I would have said, “No, God forgives you. He is waiting with outstretched arms.” But those who are crushed by guilt know better. God, in His justice, cannot forgive, and there is nothing we could ever do to atone for our sins. To say otherwise is to minimize our sin and Christ’s sacrifice.
We can never help others by pulling them up to a made-believe, Mary Poppins type of world where everyone can be happy just by accepting that God loves us. We need to delve into the real world where they are suffering, sharing their real pain, and agree with their absolutely logical conclusions, and then introduce them to a real historical event – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and to the Covenant of Redemption that it fulfills – the only logical explanation to why there is still hope in this fallen world.