Every person needs a social context in which he can openly admit how far s/he has fallen. Yet s/he must still feel loved and accepted in spite of her or his shortcomings. S/he must be supported in developing the kind of God-approved behavior s/he really desires. God’s people believe that sinners are worth saving. They do more than support; they motivate each other to self-control and will power. The church is to help people rise above their failures.
Saul of Tarsus was adequately forgiven because he dealt adequately with his guilt. In Acts 24:16 Paul said, “So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward God and toward man.” Paul dealt with his guilt by confessing it to God, to God’s people, and to himself.