He walked into the church fully prepared to confess his sins. The chapel was deserted but all of the candles had been lit. Taking a big sigh, which he wasn’t sure was out of a sense of relief or desperation, he sat down in the first pew.
The giant statue of Jesus Christ on the cross looked as if it was moving from the flickering of the candles below. The thoughts of what he had done were racing through his mind. He wasn’t even sure that praying or asking God for forgiveness would save him from what he had done.
Sitting in that pew for what felt like hours, he never saw a single soul enter or exit the church. He was about to give up hope for redemption. Then he remembered what his grandmother would always whisper to him in church when it was obvious that he wasn’t listening, “God is always watching and listening.” So, he decided to go into the confessional booth and confess his sins to God. He knew it didn’t matter where he was when talking to God, but he wanted to make it feel more official. Sure, the priest was not there to listen or tell him how many Hail Marys to repeat to save him from eternal damnation, but he would still finally speak out loud what he had done.
As he poured his heart out to what appeared to be an empty confessional booth, he began to cry. He had not cried since he was a child and this made him feel very vulnerable. He said what he needed to say and then placed his head in his hands. He sobbed for all of the lives that would be damaged if the truth got out. He sobbed for knowing what he had done wasn’t worth the pain it would cause.
Then, through the sounds of his own gasps of breath and choking on his own tears, he heard it. It was faint but clear as day.
“You are forgiven.”
He wiped his face and held his breath. He looked around in shock. He was alone in that confessional booth and he knew it. Yet, he heard it.
Without saying anything else, he got up and walked out of the church. He knew that his confession had been heard. Now all he had to do was forgive himself. Because when God forgives you, all you have left to do is forgive yourself for your own sins. That is how you have true redemption.