At Sensō-ji, the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo, there’s a shrine to Kume no Heinai. An expert swordsman of the 17th century, Kume killed many men in sword-fighting duels. Later, he lived at Sensō-ji, performing devotions and Zen meditation, praying for the souls of those he killed. As a dying request, he asked his followers to carve a statue of him and bury it near one of the temple’s gates. This way, countless people would step on it, which he felt would help atone for his sins.
People in the 21st century do this too. On their deathbeds, they wonder if there is really a way they could actually be forgiven. Their pasts haunt them and their secret sins weigh on them. They are guilty, anxious, and stressed about how they have screwed up not only their pasts but afraid it will affect their eternal futures. This is why they need to hear that there is no punishment or condemnation, all because Jesus took the punishment for them. Now “unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself” (Hebrews 7:27).
P.S. It’s not just the dying who feel this way; it’s the living too. Share the message of forgiveness with them now too!