I was almost killed when some delinquents shot me, hitting me with four bullets. On the verge of death, as a result of that I was filled with rage against all delinquents. I got a gun and spent my time killing delinquents…. I took the lives of several of them.
A month ago, I made things right with God. But it’s been a difficult process. I’ve had nightmares, panic attacks, and depression…. What can I do? Will there be consequences for all I’ve done?
Let’s begin with your last question. Yes, there will be consequences for what you have done. When you chose to take the lives of others, even though they were criminals, you were trying to make yourself equal with God; He is the only one with the authority to decide when anyone is to die. The sixth commandment teaches us that murder is a sin against God,1 and even though you may have believed you had a good reason to kill those delinquents, it was still murder.
One of the consequences that you are already facing is your own conscience. Nightmares, panic attacks, and depression can be symptoms of a guilty conscience. To get right with God, as you say you have done, it was necessary to admit your guilt to Him and to ask His forgiveness. When you faced the enormity of all your sin, including having taken the lives of others, the weight of your guilt came crashing down on you. Your rage had suppressed your guilt for a long time, but when you confessed all your sins to God, your mind was overwhelmed. So the nightmares, panic attacks, and bouts of depression began.
Another consequence that you will surely face is the inability to stop worrying about when your past will catch up with you. Will the authorities finally find you? Will you have to spend years in prison? If you are serious about your relationship with God, you will not lie about anything that you have done, even though the truth will surely lead to legal consequences. Can you trust God to guide your future even if it involves paying your debt to society for the laws you have broken?
Many people believe that if they begin a relationship with God, he should take away all the consequences of their actions. But that is not what He has promised to do. When His Son Jesus Christ died on the cross to take away the eternal punishment for our sins, He made it possible for you and for us to spend eternity in heaven in spite of the fact that we have all sinned and broken His laws. When we accept what Jesus did for us and confess our sins, we immediately qualify for His help here on earth and after we die. However, this does not give us a free pass from the consequences of our actions while we are still here on earth. Jesus will help us and guide us, but He doesn’t cancel the law of natural consequences.
As you spend time praying and reading the Scriptures, you will grow closer to God, and He will give you the strength and courage to face your future.
We wish you well,
Linda and Charles
1 Ex 20:13; Dt 5:17