I just finished The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough – an interesting and mostly enjoyable book, though I wouldn’t rave about it as much as many of the critics did. I felt there was a lot of emotional hyperdrama filtered through third-person omniscient impartiality, though after some reflection I think that says a lot more about me than it does about the book. But one idea that struck me was this one:
Only God can forgive… And He will forgive if the sincere repentance is there. He has forgiven far greater sins from far greater saints… as well as from far greater villains. Do you think Prince Lucifer is not forgiven? He was forgiven in the very moment of his rebellion. His fate as a ruler of Hell is his own, not God’s doing.
What a fascinating idea. It’s one to keep in mind when I’m being hard on myself, as is my wont. When I remain in sadness it’s because I’m thinking God hasn’t yet forgiven me or won’t forgive me for whatever shortcoming I’m lamenting – but according to this idea, He already has. I don’t need to wait for some kind of manifestation of absolution; rather, I can realize that forgiveness is not only offered when I’ve shown sufficient remorse, but may be offered well before I even realize I’m making a mistake.