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  • Godwin Cotter

In Repentance, a prisoner on death row decides to go to confession. Actually when you think about, we're all sort of prisoners on death row, it's just that for the most part, we don't know when our times up. (Note to self, I should go to confession this week.)

Jesus said “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3:28-29). It's mysterious as to what this deal-breaker sin is, the only one that closes the pearly gates shut on our soul and leaves us in the outer darkness. The stock answer is that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is despairing of God's mercy or presuming we have it coming to us automatically. Either way, we never ask God for His mercy and forgiveness. But what does that look like, how does it play out?

One of the bandits crucified with Christ said "Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom" and the other made no such request, even though he witnessed Jesus's response, "This day you will be with me in Paradise." American domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh maintained stubborn unrepentance for the Oklahoma City bombing until 2 hours before his scheduled execution. He then asked for a priest to hear his confession and give him the last rites. One of Hitler's worst mass murders was Rudolph Höss. He admitted in his autobiography that he was responsible for orchestrating the death of 3 million victims in Nazi death camps. A week before his execution he asked for a Catholic priest, a representative of the religion he had formally abjured 24 years before, and received the sacrament of Confession and then Holy Communion a day later. Heinrich Himmler was, like Höss, a fallen away Catholic who worshipped the new man-made god of Nazism. Himmler panickily bit into a cyanide pill when he was captured by the British. He was dead within 15 minutes. Did he repent the poison robbed him of his ability to think? Scripture warns that the day of the Lord for us will come like a thief in the night. Intellectually we will surely die but on another level we think it only happens to the next guy, it won't be happening to us any time soon. The final words of the Hail Mary are "pray for us now and at the hour of our death." I can see the value in that. A lot hinges on our end game when it comes to our last moments on the planet.

The enormity of the situation we are in can be too fearful to imagine, especially if we remember that our eternity is on the line during our last hour. But we shouldn't forget that we do have God on our side. Consider Dismas, one of the thieves who ended up be crucified next to Jesus. Perhaps God the Father knew that Dismas would never repent unless he ended up on that cross.

Jesus could have stopped the now repentant Dismas continuing the agonizing torturous death on the cross. Today a criminal may be guilty as sin, but if he turns in state evidence to take down the big wigs, the justice system often forgive his crimes and set him up with a new life, new location and new identity. Jesus, being God, could have commanded angels to rescue Dismas and transport him somewhere far away, heal his wounds and point out to him new opportunities. But perhaps God also knew that if Dismas was released from his torment and enabled to live a normal life again, he would, like many of us do, return to his old sinful ways. God always makes our best chance of heaven His highest priority when setting the backdrop envelops our journey through this world.

Please check out the other comics on the FearoftheLordcomics  website:

Repentance                      The Refining Fire           The Christmas Present 

The NROP Glasses           The Rise of Nothing  

 Comic Websites I Follow:

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Reginald Smith
Reginald Smith
Mar 21

Our Lord Jesus Christ also could have let Dismas die quickly with little pain. But I often think that when we suffer here on earth it is actually part of our purgatory (part of).

I could actually write a few paragraphs but it's getting late.

Keep up the good work Godwin.

Dominus tecum, Reg

Godwin Cotter
Mar 22
Replying to

Thank you Reginald, I appreciate your kind words, and I agree with what you said, it's always hard though to embrace purgatory when we can weasel out it. God bless

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