Someone sent me a link to a recent ER show where a dying man is talking to a chaplain about his guilt and whether or not he can be forgiven for his taking innocent life. While some of the chaplain’s comments are relativistic mumbo-jumbo, she has one very insightful comment. The dying man says something to suggest he can’t make up for his sins. The chaplain says,
“[Sometimes I think] it’s easier to feel guilt than forgiven….that your guilt is your reason for living…but maybe you need something else to live for.”
I may not have gotten that quote just right at the end as I was scribbling it down. But, this line is very powerful. In fact, some make a living out of guilt, depression, hopelessness, etc. They can’t imagine life any different. Pride makes it hard to give up what feels to have become a central feature to their identity. While her counsel was terrible, she was right on the money about the nature of guilt and the difficulty in giving it up. He would have to accept that he received something he did not deserve and could never pay back.