"The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son,..." (John 5:22)
He cannot get over his guilt. He picked up women to fulfill his own sexual desires for so many years. His world was selfish. Gambling was more than a habit, it was a way of life. When he finally married, he had children thinking it would ground him. The whole marriage thing was a disaster, and now his ex-wife has custody of the children and they barely recognize him. Work was his one area of success, but even that was tainted by the shady dealings he made to get ahead.
Then one day, a friend invited him to church. He hadn't been a church-goer, but he respected his friend, who had a sense of peace, and seemed to have his life together. He returned week after week. Then he joined a small group and began studying the Bible more. Yet, rather than getting a feeling of peace, he felt convicted. The more he participated in church and studied God's word, the more his selfish behavior made him sick to his stomach. He began to wonder if it was too late for him to make a change and be accepted by God. Had he hurt too many, too often?
In a moment of bitter frustration and depression, exacerbated by too many gin and tonics, he knew he had to either get some relief from the guilt, or leave God. It was simply too painful. In one last ditch effort, he made an appointment to visit with the pastor. The poor, unsuspecting pastor was caught by surprise. Barely did the man step in the pastor's office, than he unburden himself by sharing his guilt and pain. His narrative confession flowed out of him in fits and spurts. The pastor knew enough to simply listen.
The man concluded his desperate tirade sharing his fear that God would turn him into a pillar of salt on his judgment day. He then proceeded to sob into his hands, too exhausted to keep control.
The pastor told him it was not too late for God to bless him with peace. First, he needed to get on his knees and pray for forgiveness. The two literally got on the floor and prayed for forgiveness together. The pastor shared the verse from John 5:22, that the Father has "given all judgment to the Son." He reminded the man that God, in Jesus, no longer turns people into salt, but with Jesus, all are forgiven. We don't earn our forgiveness, but it is the free gift of grace. The pastor then said that God forgives him, but in order for the man to forgive himself, he may want to make a mends by apologizing to those he hurt. He should not push, but be available to others, especially his children, if they want to talk. Accept their anger in a non-anxious way, and not defend himself. Then, simply live a new, more-faithful life, and time will bring healing.
The man's life was more whole, and his relationships less stressed. When he realized God, through Jesus Christ was calling him not to destruction, but to redemption, his selfishness was turned to selfless love.
Today, offer God your guilt and pain. If there are relationships left in despair, reach out. Trust in God's forgiveness. Then, as a response to the free gift of grace, commit to making faithful changes in your life. Don't wait until tomorrow or next month, but start today and begin with a prayer for forgiveness and the Spirit's leading. A feeling of wholeness is not beyond your grasp!