Here is a simple yet complex question. How much good does a person have to do to repay for the wicked they have done?
Can we ever make good for the bad? I would guess that this question depends on the perspective of the person who was wronged. For example, can a killer make good with the family of a person he killed? Can a liar make good with the victim he lied to?
Obviously both examples are on each end of the spectrum, but the question still remains. Can we make good for our bad deeds?
Which leads us to further ask, when is the bad made good? Who makes that call? The victim? The family of the victim? or how about the person who is trying to reconcile the bad?
In my 43 years on this rock, i spent the first 17 years being a good boy with the exception of normal teenage crap. The next 15 or so years, i spent some time in the Navy and living a lifestyle that most would call, un-christian like. The last 11 years i have been trying to renew my faith, live a good life, and walk the path my religion says i should.
When i started bringing religion back into my life, i started finding deeper meaning, a purpose for my life, and started to understand the difference between love and lust. All this, in my opinion, has made me a better man. My religion helped me get through some of the darkest days of my life. I always knew there was a reason for what happened and at times i walked by faith, not sight.
But those 15 years sometimes haunt me. I tell people that i have not always been a nice person. I did things back then, that when i think of them now, it shames me for the way i acted and reacted to situations. So how do we make good or atone for those bad actions.
How do we take back all the hurtful things we have said to others? I don't know if there is an answer.
When we answer to God for our actions, do you think it is like a scale? With all the good on one side and the bad on the other? Or do you think it is a list and the good will never outweigh the bad? One way or the other, we have to pay for those bad deeds. Whether it is here in our lifetime or the after life. Atonement must be made.
The Protestants tell me that Jesus died on the cross that my sins may be forgiven. I ask Jesus to forgive me, all is forgiven, and i am on my way to Heaven. My Priest says it isn't that easy. My Priest tells me that Christ died on the cross for mankind as a whole, to re-open the gates of Heaven, and allow us by Faith and Works, to works towards the ultimate goal of reaching Heaven upon our death.
He gave me an example; Let's say your neighbor builds a new house. The house is beautiful and you are jealous of his good fortune. One night, you take a can of paint and throw it on the wall of your neighbors new house.
After a few days, you start feeling guilty, and you go tell your neighbor that you did it. You agree to paint that part of the house and bring back the beauty of the new house. Although the new paint job covers up what you have done, the stain of what you did will always be there. My Priest said that the stain is like sins on our soul. We may cover them up, but they are always there under the surface. On the day of our judgement, those stains will be revealed, and then we will have to answer for them.
In my opinion, unless the person you wronged truly forgives you, those stains will remain on your soul.