Despair and Christian Hope

Despair can kill the soul and sometimes it infects people. They begin to think of the terrible lives they have led and become convinced that forgiveness is impossible. They die in despair, saying to themselves, “There is no hope for me now. Clearly the dreadful things I have done cannot possibly be forgiven. So why try to change my lust-filled life?”

—Augustine, Sermon 87.10

Augustine is right despair can kill the soul. Everyone, if they are honest with themselves, likely harbors what they consider to be an “unforgivable sin.” But that really is Satan whispering lies to us. Nothing we have done is unforgivable unless we refuse to ask for and accept forgiveness.

When we are tempted to be overcome by despair, let us remember the symbol of God’s justice—the Cross. God himself suffered the just punishment for our sins so that we can live with him forever. Why would he not be willing to forgive our broken and contrite hearts?