Mon | Jul 26, 2021

Diary of the Ghetto Priest | Confession and forgiveness

Published:Friday | May 3, 2019 | 12:00 AMFr Richard Ho Lung

We really need to confess our sins before God. How can we live with a clean conscience when we have murdered, wounded, or violated others with weapons or words?

Jamaica is a violent country. But we are one of the most beautiful of countries in the world. There are more woundings or killings and horrible stories reported in the media of gruesome murders in our beautiful island than anyone could ever dream of given the number of blessings that God has given us. Why? We are angry people!

Confession and forgiveness can heal us. I spoke to Joy yesterday at Sugarman’s Beach. “Why are you offering us fish and festival?”

“Business is slow today, and I want to do something good. My heart is heavy, Father.”

“No, you can’t do that, Joy. Here are a few dollars,” I said as we ate the lovely meal.

life in Portmore

Joy tells us of her life in Portmore. “I am a grandmother. I have five children. My first husband died. My second man and me have three more children. Him don’t take care of me much. Him have bad foot.”

“So he don’t help you, Joy?”

“Me wouldn’t say that, Father. But him can’t do much. Him push handcart and hustle little things, and ground provisions.

“But how you manage, Joy?”

“Is mostly myself. Them cut off me light and water. I can’t manage the book and school fees. Meanwhile, we hear that there is so much violence, so much anger, our island is a time bomb fi grandpickney.”

“But I don’t want to tell you me worries. Business really bad fi true. But I keep me lickle shop with the fish and bammy and little chips.”

“Father, Father. Let me tell you a story. Right in a mi yard, I fraid for me girl pickney – me grandchildren. There is some man dem. Dem try to give food and lickle money to de 12-year-old girl. Me tell her no, don’t take anything from the man dem. I go to the man dem and tell dem leave her alone. The man curse and abuse me. But I stand up and tell him, in the name of Jesus Christ, leave her alone. She is God’s pickney. I told him to look at the lust in his heart. I pray over him and ask him to stop it.”

“Him confess and ask for forgiveness.”

Joy told me she is a Pentecostal. She goes to church twice per week. She knows she is a daughter of God.

The man named Lester goes to church now with Joy. He confessed his sins to the pastor and congregation. He tells of his frustration. “No education, no job.”

What to do? What to do? He feels anger swell in his heart, real anger. He is useless!

Father Richard Ho Lung is founder of the Missionaries of the Poor charity. Email feedback to