Patricia Hofer

“By-Path Meadow,” where we avoid admitting guilt

What makes John Bunyan’s story of a pilgrimage so helpful are the colorful names he gives sinfulness, names like By-Path Meadow, for example. This was a path his pilgrims wandered off into because it appeared easier “for their feet” (104). Bunyan’s characters almost drowned on this attractive but disastrous detour. But they learned their lesson—at least temporarily.

And there is another kind of By-Path Meadow that can be very tempting—the desire to avoid our admission of guilt.
When we are humiliated, it does seem like the easier path is the one that avoids public humiliation. But, as with Bunyan’s pilgrims, the path that appears easier “for their feet” became the harder path in the long run. … Describing this necessity for remorse, Lewis wrote, “… forgiveness needs to be accepted as well as offered if it is to be complete: and a man who admits no guilt can accept no forgiveness” (The Problem of Pain 124). (As quoted in Living Strong, chapter 23, ©️)

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