When penance is painful

The free grace of God is such a tremendous gift. But sometimes we tend to forget that -- as Dietrich Bonhoeffer so memorably pointed out -- even though grace is free, it isn't cheap. The story of Byron Widner, reformed skinhead, and what he had to suffer to be rid of his past, serves as a sobering parable about this truth.


Penance is painful
The desire for new identification is, in itself, an evidence of the invasion of sola gratia.
Ooooops: forgot! Your title says "When penance is painful". Don't you see that it HAS to be painful to mean anything? If it's not painful enough to make you make you at least stutter (or, maybe, quake in your boots)for fear of offending God, then it wasn't painful enough! Too many of us have an "entitlement" attitude towards God's forgiveness: "Oh, well; He's forgiven me for this before and He'll certainly forgive me again". That's exactly how we get stuck in those sins we can't seem to break free of.

Please, God, make it painful enough that I never want to do this again!
I have heard Widner's story before, and find him and his wife remarkable people. Surely, God has a plan for them that would knock their socks off!

Re Detrich Bonhoffer, I was so glad to read the article because he says the same thing I've been saying: Salvation is FREE, but living it costs you EVERYTHING!

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