Question:

I am a 26 year old male and a Roman Catholic.

Last month I was celebrating my birthday and I had planned a simple day for myself with my roommates: have few drinks and dinner. I prayed for this to be my year with the help of God, and I went to the chapel to offer flowers and pray to God as I wanted to live my life in holiness.

About my past: I believed in God and then I stopped for few years when I had finished my sophmore year in school. I really spoke bad about God during those days, after which I got my punishment, but I returned to God and with full faith and humility, I followed God with a full heart. I use to masturbate and never knew of its connection with sin. Before I came back to God I had once had sex with a prostitute and that was my first time. I confessed for my sins and kept my faith in God. During this time I was helped by God in the best way.

I continued my journey with God. I was still up and down with my commitment toward God. Several years ago I got into a strange relation with a co-worker. We were not in a relationship but still had sex, which I did not like. I later fell in love with her. She was a believer, too, so after few months we started carrying on and got serious in our relation. We still had sex. I knew it was wrong but ignored it. I wanted to marry her but things did not work out in terms of culture and family and so we broke up. During our relation she got pregnant once, and she had to go through with an abortion. I deeply regret this as we were not in a relation and were just having physical relations with each other. I tried my best to keep away from her, but we did not and finally had a relation. We both believe in God and were supportive of each other to change. We both did but did not give up the sex. After we broke up I did not have sex for nearly 18 months, but I use to masturbate and sometimes watch porn.

I did not masturbate for two months, as I had grown spiritually and my attention was toward God alone. I can say I had changed, but I started masturbating again and ignored my guilt. I could control myself at times but not always. I prayed to God always. My belief in God is pure. I realize that there is no one greater than Him and I completely depend on him for my whole life.

Coming back to my birthday, after having few drinks that evening and after having my dinner, all of a sudden I wanted to go to the night club, which we did. I had another drink there. I was high by this time, and one of my friend suggested me that we go to the strip club. I agreed. From there I went to a brothel and had sex with a prostitute. All this time I convinced myself that it was all right for one time as it was my birthday and I was 26. I did not feel a pinch about it. After having sex I even decided to do it some other time as I was drunk I could not perform the act. I realized that I missed my girlfriend. I was just performing the same way I used to do it with my girlfriend. The next day in the evening I realized what I had done and freaked out. One reason was because I had unprotected sex for less than a minute and secondly that I had sin.

I have been in complete sorrow from that day, both in fear of sin and catching a disease. I know that the fear of diseased is more than the fear of sin, but now I feel helpless. I fell away from God. It feels like I canít talk to Him. Every time I try to pray I feel I am not true and that I am just using Him, and I am not sure if I am true to Him in my prayers. I have been praying since the sin and have not masturbated. I have done an STD test nine days after the act and the results were negative, but I am not satisfied, and I am waiting a few more weeks before getting another test and then finally an HIV test.

Now, I feel very sorry for what I have done because I had promised God that I would never do something like that. I am always conscious of my sins, but the lust was too strong and I just fell into it.

But after my act of fornication I have been in deep pain and sorrow. I have confessed for it and spoke to my friend about it who is a strong believer and also my spiritual guide at times. He convinced me that God will forgive me, but I am broken hearted. I am still praying but just lost and feeling inadequate of the holiness that I had. I feel I am unworthy and undeserving.

I donít want to be away from God. I have come this far, leaving most of my material needs finally, but now this sin has brought me down. I just donít know what to do and where to go.

Please help.


Answer:

So when are you going to get serious about following God? Looking through all that you've said, you claim to follow God while doing things your own way. Even while in the midst of sin, you continue to claim that you are following God.

"Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles--when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries" (I Peter 4:1-3).

You claim you were on a journey to God but during that time you were committing fornication with a woman. You excused it because you were "in love" at least part of the time and she also called herself a Christian. The truth is that she was no more a Christian than you were. Worse she murdered the child you and she conceived in your sin. Then you broke up and you got into pornography. Recently you got drunk, visited a prosititute and committed fornication again. Is this even trying to live like Christ?

"Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21).

You say you want to go to heaven, but you are heading the wrong direction. I almost get the impression you are worried about smaller things while letting the major issues slide by. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2).

A part of the problem is that you are trying to buy your way into heaven. You do things you know are wrong, but going to a Roman Catholic church to give flowers, candles, money, etc. makes you think you've become more holy. "These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh" (Colossians 2:23). You are just doing things but you are not learning from God.

"My son, keep your father's commandment, and don't forsake your mother's teaching. Bind them continually on your heart. Tie them around your neck. When you walk, it will lead you. When you sleep, it will watch over you. When you awake, it will talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light. Reproofs of instruction are the way of life, to keep you from the immoral woman, from the flattery of the wayward wife's tongue. Don't lust after her beauty in your heart, neither let her captivate you with her eyelids. For a prostitute reduces you to a piece of bread. The adulteress hunts for your precious life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap, and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife. Whoever touches her will not be unpunished. Men don't despise a thief, if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry: but if he is found, he shall restore seven times. He shall give all the wealth of his house. He who commits adultery with a woman is void of understanding. He who does it destroys his own soul. He will get wounds and dishonor. His reproach will not be wiped away" (Proverbs 6:20-33).

Where you need to go is to God's Word. You need to learn what is sinful and why it is harmful. I'll help you learn but only if you are serious about being a true Christian.