Question:

How do I be free from sexual sins?

First, I thank God that I came across this web site as I was browsing on the Internet. This site really gives me so much to learn.

Well, straight to the main problem. I don't know whether I'm a porn addict or not, but based on my own observation, I can hardly resist watching porn. Perhaps it's because I've watched porn since I was in elementary school and because I was born into a divorced family. Not only that, but I have engaged in sexual intercourse with a prostitute several times. This later made me terrified and paranoid about STD's, such as HIV and others, so I repented. I thank God that I am not infected. I know it's all because of His mercy and grace.

But I came back to that disgusting life. I continued to buy porn movies and quite often, I masturbated after watching them. Worse, I once went to a massage center and had a treatment. To my surprise, I was offered to have an "extra" treatment. I failed to refuse, and had an oral sex. I felt guilty after doing that. I even cried because I failed Him again.

I know and realize that God has been good and merciful to me. He always is, but I'm just too stupid. I consider myself an animal who never knows how to be thankful to Him. All I can do now is cry and ask for forgiveness.

Please help me and teach me how to overcome this problem and fear; and to be free and be obedient toward Him. And please, if you are willing, pray for me. I really feel unworthy with my pathetic life since I've asked Him for forgiveness many times, but I disappointed Him again.

Thank you for reading thisanyway.


Answer:

Repentance is not the same as being sorry that you've sinned. It is a changing of your mind about sin and a changing of your behavior. Sorry is what triggers a desire to change, but more is needed to actually change. "Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (II Corinthians 7:9-11).

Because your earlier repentance was motivated by your fear of disease, you stopped visiting prostitutes, but your use of pornography didn't last as long. I suspect that it is because you saw it as not being as bad as visiting prostitutes since disease is not an issue in masturbation. If you are like most young men, there is a tendency to go to extremes. Since you realized that your sexual drive was leading you into sin, you decided to "cure" the problem by stopping all ejaculation. Such doesn't work because the male body requires ejaculations to get rid of the excess semen that is constantly being produced. Eventually the demand by your body for relief drove you to find quick relief in what you were most familiar with, which was pornography.

Pornography is sinful for a number of reasons. "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God" (I Thessalonians 4:3-5). It warps your view of right and wrong, it makes fornication appear acceptable. It warps your view of women, it makes you see women as merely objects to have sex with -- you don't see them as real people who are equal to you. And it warps your view of sex, it makes it appear that sex is an end to itself and not the result of caring for another person. See A Look at Pornography for more on this topic.

When you excused your looking at pornography, you set yourself up for further sins. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:21-23). You cannot constantly thinking about sinning, imagine yourself sinning, and then think that you can resist the offer to sin when it comes along. I suspect that the reason you went to the massage parlor was because you were looking for sexual excitement, even if you were surprised that you were offered more than you had hoped to get. Of course, the danger of disease returns with oral sex and this is why it really upset you that you gave in. But what I would like you to see is that you were preparing for a downfall without recognizing what you were doing.

Therefore, let's get you back on track. First, get rid of all the pornography in your home -- every bit of it. Second, put a filter on your computers and phones, such as K9 Web Protection, to make it more difficult to just casually give into the temptation to look at pornography. Even better is if you can have a friend keep the key to the program.

I'm not going to tell you not to ejaculate. By itself ejaculating is just a fact of life for males. See: Is masturbation sinful or not? However, I am saying that you need to force yourself not to use pornography or lustful thoughts to get yourself sexually excited. At first this task will seem near impossible, especially since you've been involved in pornography for so long; however, it can be done. Doing so will teach you an important lesson in self-control by managing your desire instead of neglecting so long that they end up controlling you.

On the spiritual plane, you need to get back to God and following His teachings. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 1:8-2:1).

Along with asking forgiveness and having enough faith to trust that God does forgive you, it is past time that you learn about sex from God. For this, I would like you to read the book of Proverbs. Take it a chapter a day, so it will take you about a month to get through the whole book. It talks about a lot of issues important to young men -- not just sex, though that is one of the topics covered. The book is designed to make you think and puzzle over the material, so as you read it, when you have questions write them down and send them to me. I'll try to get back to you as quickly as I can with an answer.

Thank you so much. Now I realize that I asked God for forgiveness because of the fear of disease and not because I fear Him as my God. Please pray for me if possible or if you accept any prayer requests.

Any verses about strength that you can suggest? I have a fear inside that makes me feel I can't do it.

One last question: does or will God punish me for all the things that I've done even if I've asked for forgiveness?

Thank you once again. God bless.

"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13).

There are three things about temptation that everyone needs to keep in mind:

  • You are not unique. There are many others who have faced the same temptations as you are facing -- some successfully and others failing. You can't say you are the only one going through this.
  • God won't allow Satan to give you a temptation you can't handle. You might feel like it is too much, but God has made a promise that you can overcome it, if you try.
  • There is always a way out that doesn't involve sin. God won't allow Satan to box you in so that you have no choice but to sin. It might be hard to find, you might not see it at first or you might not like it, but the way out is always there.

One thing you need to remember about feelings is that they can be wrong. "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26). Many times you have to do what you know is right despite your personal feelings on the matter.

When a person is forgiven, then that is the end of the matter as far as God is concerned. "Indeed it was for my own peace that I had great bitterness; but You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back" (Isaiah 38:17). This doesn't mean that you might not have to deal with the consequences of your sinful actions. But God is not going to send additional burdens just because you have forgiven sins in your past.

John said, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). "Faithful" means He is trustworthy and can be trusted. When God forgives He is not doing so arbitrarily. He is just or righteous in His offer of forgiveness. He does it because it is the right thing to do.

Keep in touch, and I will be praying that you find the strength you need. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world" (I Peter 5:8-9).

I've been struggling to forget everything I did in the past and trying to focus on becoming better. I don't know why, but a fear always pops up in my mind. The more I try to be strong, the more pressure and fear I have. To be honest, this fear and condemnation just drive me insane. Every time I look back, I cry and just cry to God. Remembering all the things that I've done seem to be intolerable. The fear is not only about the sex, but also about the risk of doing oral sex. Even though it has very low risk of being infected with HIV and there has never been any report about being infected through it but only studies, I still feel like God will punish me with diseases because I have disappointed Him. Even worse, that feeling keeps telling me that He will not listen and bless a sinner like me but only the righteous. Is it true? Isn't He a merciful and graceful God and Father? I used to be active at chuch and I always heard from the pastor and people who witnessed that He is the God who always gives another chance and I believe so, but what can I do in order to stay firm, strong and have faith in Him instead of worrying?

You can't erase your memories of what you did, but you can decide that those things are no longer important to your future. The problem is that you keep looking back at where you've been instead of looking at where you are going. It appears you don't really believe God has forgiven you of your past sins, likely because you haven't forgiven yourself and you place more weight on what you think and feel than on what God said.

Yes, you sinned -- just like everyone else in the world, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). It is almost like a twisted form of pride. You think because you sinned that you should be punished worse than others. You put your feelings above even facts. You have no disease, but you feel that you should. You read that God forgives, but you feel that won't forgive you. I can't do much for someone who insists on being foolish. "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26). You need to realize that God treats all people the same, "For there is no partiality with God" (Romans 2:11). The rules God lays out are applied equally and evenly to all people.

You see, you claim to believe, but your actions are contrary to belief. You show no trust in God. You need to sit down and look through your Bible and see that God forgives all sinners.