A person who has committed a fault or who has sinned may step back or hideaway in shame or, on the other hand, may bravely face and accept the painful judgment that may befall upon an offender. If open to truth, the person fearlessly confesses and stands to trial for the right cause.
For the fallen Christian, Jesus comes to him with compassionate healing graces. Jesus comes to embrace him through the sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession and whisper the words of forgiveness and hope through the priest. The kind priest will less likely focus on the shameful act than on the mercy of God and the joy of being reconciled with him, and at peace in one’s conscience. “Bless the Lord, my soul, and do not forget all his kindness; he forgives all your sins and heals all your sickness; he redeems your life from destruction and crowns you with love and compassion” (Ps 103:1-4).
Pope Francis has often insisted on dealing with our neighbor with mercy. The Lord himself taught us in the perfect prayer – Our Father – one must forgive to be forgiven. To obtain mercy, one must also be merciful. God will reward any good done from the heart, including guidance given to those who go astray. “Those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them” (Prov 24: 25). It takes humility to ask forgiveness, and humility is the first step to climb the stairway to heaven, akin to being a child in the sight of God. “Unless you are converted and become like little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3-4).
Let us use the will power God has given us to lead us along the perfect way of true freedom as his ‘blameless’ sons and daughters, keeping a pure conscience, as we repeat the words of the psalmist: “With a blameless heart I will walk within my house…I will choose from the faithful of the land those who may dwell with me; no double-dealer shall live in my house; no one who utters falsehood shall stand before my eyes” (Ps 101: 2,6,7).