Question:

I read your article about the girl who committed fornication. You provided a wonderful answer for her.

I was also was raised in the church. I have walked away and came back so times I have lost count. I have committed way to many sins to even start to number. I do not know why it has been in my life that whether I am praying 40 minutes a day or 4 hours, fasting a meal or 3 days, I find myself falling back into my old habits. I sometimes feel like there is no hope for me and other times I feel like crying my eyes out for hours or days. I just cannot seem to move past all of my past mistakes and find victory and the joy of my salvation.

In the Bible when people sinned they repented and went on to live a victorious life for God. Me, I just seem to fail over and over again. I am serving God with a greater determination now than I ever have before. I will not go back again. I have my focus on God and will never allow anyone or anything to turn me around. Because I failed God over and over again I simply do not know how to forgive myself or understand how God could forgive me so many times.

My father was an alcoholic and a pedophile. My brother and brother-in-law are pedophiles within my family. I was abused as an adult. So to me sex seemed to be the way to obtain love. I committed adultery and my husband divorced me. I got involved with a woman because I hated men and how they treated women. For me my sins have always been sexual. So now if I am around any man they say I am distant and cold. I think it is because of my past and the mistake I have made. I feel like I can barely pick up one foot and put it in front of another. Yet, I read my Bible, pray, go to church faithfully and worship. So how do I move past my guilt? I just want to live victoriously in God and feel the joy of my salvation.

Thank you for your time. I would talk to my own pastor, but I am too sad, depressed and unworthy to lift up my head anymore. I live with this 24 hours a day. Even when I am in church worshiping my Lord.


Answer:

You describe your situation as if you are locked into a certain pattern of behavior. But Paul tells us, "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 is always a choice when we are faced with sin. There is always a way that doesn't involve sinning.

Sin is a choice that you make. You were sexually abused as a child, but these were bad things done to you by evil people. Those things don't lock you into a pattern of behavior if you choose to behave differently. However, it appears that you gave up your self-respect and have chosen sin. You let the evil trap you instead of putting it behind you.

You know what you ought to do; yet, when it comes to the critical moment of making a choice, you choose badly. You hint that you do it because you want to feel loved; yet, you also know that there is no real love there. You are only being used. You gave up men, only to be used by other women. But the real problem is that love isn't found in physical actions. Love is the attitude people have for each other. It is found in the relationship -- the friendship. See I Corinthians 13:4-8.

How you do you move passed the past? By deciding to become a different person. Your past remains as a memory, but you can look at yourself and know that you are no longer that person anymore. "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 7:10-11).

You had not reached this point of really changing your attitude and behavior toward sin. You had intentions of changing, but it wasn't really a part of you. You also approached it in the wrong way. You saw penance as a way of forcing yourself to change so you prayed and fasted, yet those won't by themselves change you. They sound good, but they don't addressed the issue of why you choose sex over obedience to God. "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).

Leave the past behind. Focus instead on where you are going. "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).