Hopefully I can word this properly… it’s kind of a complex, yet specific question but I’ve been wondering it for a while.
If someone finds themselves in a position where they’re “getting what they deserve” (Proverbs 1:31), and thus in a state of imperfect contrition they can only beg for mercy in a temporal sense (“save their own life” as referenced in Matthew 16:25), they’re obviously on a bad path, but in a state of imperfect contrition I believe they can still be saved. HOWEVER, if they’ve once reached the point where temporal mercy is their objective (imperfect contrition), but then eventually seek perfect contrition, is perfect contrition still attainable in this life? Or is purgatory the best they can hope for?
I ask because in light of all these different scandals that happen seemingly every day now, people (even Catholics) seem very quick to judge the scandalous person’s level of contrition, and I imagine that level of scrutiny makes it very hard for those people to attain perfect contrition, since they’re so bombarded with criticism (which, as mentioned in the Proverbs verse, they do deserve to a certain extent). I would imagine if I were caught up in some sort of serious scandal, if I’m being honest, I would get defensive first, and try and mitigate the damage to my reputation at first. With the HOPE of eventually being able to reconcile with God perfectly. But the temporal effects would probably overwhelm me at first.
EDIT: And, less important, but even though it may not be a priority anymore, would they still be able to redeem their reputation (thus having God “save their life” as also mentioned in the Matthew verse)?