Response to Jenny
Thanks so much for your inquiry, Jenny. My heart hurts for your anguish, but I am at the same time glad that you are at a good starting point for seeing God work.
From your messages, it seems that you have three basic questions. First, is it too late for “redemption”? Second is, how do I change? The third is, what do I do about the people I have hurt?
As a starting point. It is absolutely possible to be 100 percent sure of eternal salvation and a destiny of Heaven (vs hell). Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and no sin is too big for Him to forgive. If there is any doubt, please see Steps To Peace With God or Knowing God Personally for a simple process to be sure of your standing before God.
For the first question, “is it too late for ‘redemption'”, or too late for things to turn things around?….. The short answer is that it is never too late. Paul actively participated in the death of Stephen, one of God’s choice servants. He later said that God saved him as an example that he can save anyone. Jesus at the last minute granted and promised salvation to the thief who was hanging on the cross next to him and who repented of his sins.
No one on earth can achieve enough “worthiness” to be accepted by Him. In fact, our worthiness comes as a result of His acceptance of us. There is nothing we can do to merit His favor, it comes completely from Him in order to show the greatness of His love. The gap between His excellencies and holiness and our behavior is so huge, that even if improve our lives by multiples, we’re still far far away from what He requires.
For the second question, “how do I change”, James 3:3 through 4:10 provides some insight. I (and another family member) consider ourselves as “recovering narcissists. Recognizing the issue is a starting point. Then allow God to continue to work in your mind and heart to transform it into His heart of love for others. Hiding His word in your heart and daily humbling yourself before Him is the key to this process.
For the third question, “what about all the damage I have created”? It is painful to know that we have been tools of others’ pain and destruction. We need to understand that our God who says that He works all things together for our good if we love Him (Romans 8), also works all things together for others’ good, and that He is using our sin as means for their good if they will allow it. This is hard to digest, but God is a big God. We need to really pray for God’s healing and restoration in the lives of those we have hurt. Also, our sin can be a continuing reminder of to us of our need to walk with Him. I am sure that Paul winced with grief every time he thought of his role in Stephen’s stoning, but it drove him to appreciate freshly on a daily basis, God’s grace in saving him.
Practically speaking, I would start by asking God for a miracle of restoration – in both restoring broken relationships as well as creating something beautiful from the damage that has been done in the lives of people whom you have hurt. In addition, going to those whom you have hurt with an attitude of genuine repentance and asking forgiveness is always appropriate.
I hope these brief words can help you start down the path of His true healing for you.