I just heard, via my French news podcast, the sad tale of a mid-wife trainee who administered the medication for a D&C to the wrong patient.  A baby died because of this error.  The reporter talked about the mother’s shock and grief.  But my heart wrenched not only for her but also for the poor young mid-wife trainee whose mistake cost the baby’s life.  What does she do with her guilt?  How can she live with herself?

A day later, the political world was rocked with the public accusation of sexual assault.  The French head of the International Monetary Fund apparently forced himself on his hotel maid.  Barely 48 hours after this news we learned of a child, fathered (outside of his marriage) by movie icon and former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

What do these three people have in common?  They are burdened with guilt.  They, like us, have to face the question:  What do you do with your guilt? That is a question that has both eternal significance as well as a day-to-day impact on the quality of our life here on Earth.  In their circumstances as well as in ours Jesus is the only answer that can bring healing, justice and freedom for both victim and victimizer.

Guilt is part of the human condition ever since we turned our backs on God in the Garden.  There are two aspects to guilt and I think we fixate on one more than the other.  There is objective guilt – we fail to meet a standard, we are judged lacking.  (That is actually easier to address).  But there is the affective side of guilt, the feelings that plague us even after our objective guilt has been handled.

If I were the midwife, my instincts would kick in and I would be saying to myself, “What can I EVER due to make up for the life I took?”  Without the knowledge that Jesus paid for her culpability in that baby’s death, no matter what or how much she does , she will be haunted until she dies.  The French justice system will evaluate how much she should ‘pay’ given the circumstances and motives.   But unless she has a way to handle her feelings of guilt, she will be miserable.  The fact that Jesus took on all our punishment & guilt, the fact that he died means that we don’t have to be punished more than the State deems.  A forgiven, redeemed Christian lives in the land of “No Condemnation!” Sweet words!

And Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Frenchman?  And Arnold?  I pray that God uses the publicity of these egregious & wicked actions to bring them face to face with their need for a Savior.  Pride goes before a fall.  It is a temptation to be rich, famous and powerful.  Those people need our prayers.  But God is sovereign.  As they say, if we don’t humble ourselves, God will.  The two women who are victims (and everyone else caught in the webs of pain these men have generated) need Jesus.   They need to know that perfect justice will be had: both Arnold and Dominique will pay for their crimes when they face God as their judge, OR, the punishment has already been borne by Jesus on the cross (if they accept the gift of Jesus as a stand-in for them by repenting and putting their trust in Christ).  In this latter case Jesus has been declared ‘guilty’ and has suffered for the crime.  Either way, perfect justice is guaranteed.  The crimes do not go unpunished in the cosmic court.  God knows and sees everything.

Two ‘take-aways’:

(1)  – instead of gloating when the haughty proud fall, instead of hopelessly lamenting the loss of a baby, we need to pray that this severe mercy bear fruit and all involved come to a saving faith in Jesus.

(2)  – remember that we have an opening with which we can share the Gospel.  A question that pertains to everyone we meet, “What do YOU do with your guilt?” might just be the words to cause your neighbor to think about God and to ‘fear’ Him properly.

Implication?  Let us always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have!  (1 Peter 3:15b)