In a few years, my son will be old enough to make his first confession. I hope we can take it as seriously as it merits, I hope we cover all the important parts and that he really understands the importance of the acts leading up to his first confession. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to explain confession using one of his favorite T.V. shows: Avatar the Last Airbender.
We were watching a bit tonight and I turned to my husband after one particular scene just with my mouth wide open – that was confession right there; the fear, the disbelief, the sadness and the complete and utter forgiveness.
For those who don’t know the show I’ll try to sum up as quickly as I can, near the end of the show we come to a scene where one character (Zuko) must finally face his Uncle, whom he betrayed in order to gain what he thought would give him purpose and meaning, and ask for forgiveness. It truly is a beautiful story arch of real character development.
I’m not sure if the writers and creator of the show is Catholic or even Christian, but I have my suspicions particularly was how the show ends and it’s culminating themes …. love, forgiveness, and mercy. I know many people have avoided the show because it focuses on “Eastern” like spirituality, but oh there’s so much more there if you dig a little deeper.
Anyways, there are two main scenes – leading up to the confession and experiencing the confession. In the first scene our confessing character, Zuko, talks to a friend about his fears and unworthiness.
Z: My Uncle hates me. I know it. He loved me and supported me in every way he could, and I still turned against him. How can I even face him?
(now tell me you’ve NEVER felt that leading up to confession)
K: Zuko, you’re sorry for what you did, right?
Z: More sorry than I’ve been about anything in my entire life.
K: Then he’ll forgive you. He will.
Right there, plain and simple. You go to confession feeling unworthy like you’re the worst, but truly sorry and you’re forgiven. No other rules or guidelines, no hoops to jump through. Just forgiveness.
The next scene is the confession/confrontation between nephew and son, Zuko pours out his heart begging forgiveness and suddenly it’s there. No words, no anger, no demands just his Uncle reaching out and embracing him with forgiveness, full and without any strings attached.
Zuko, confused, asks his Uncle why he is not angry after everything he has done and his Uncle answers, like the true father figure this young man has spent years looking for:
“I was never angry with you. I was sad because you lost your way… But you found it again… and I am so happy you found your way here.”
And there it is illustrated so simply, but powerfully. God will never be angry or resent us when we lose our way. His heart breaks when we betray him and lose our way, but when we find the path back to him all he knows is joy and love for us.