Question:

Thank you for your web site. I feel quite happy to read such great answers and feel inspired to follow Jesus Christ in the right way.

For the past few months, I have been feeling very lonely and depressed despite being surrounded by wonderful friends. I have started to withdraw from people and question their morals and values. I have learned not to judge others morals and values because mine are not so great either since I have not been praying on a regular basis. Due to loneliness, I have got involved in ungodly temptations (pornography and online sexual encounters) to fill my loneliness, but I have realized that I am back to square one.

My one purpose is to study, and I haven't been doing that and now feel extremely guilty because exams are fast approaching. I have this constant fear that I will fail my exams due to my recent behaviors. My guilt has been affecting my studies.

How can I begin to believe that God will forgive my sins and stop being paranoid and filled with guilt? Any Bible verses for temptations, sins, and keep having faith in God? I am quite worried about my studies and my exams. I know God's grace has always been generous to me but I keep going back to the same behaviors. I need help.

Thank you,


Answer:

Many times God doesn't have to directly punish sins. The sins cause the sinner enough grief by themselves. The reason certain things are called sins is because they cause harm, whether you recognize the danger up front or not. As Moses told Israel: "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?" (Deuteronomy 10:12-13). Therefore, if you fail your studies, it isn't because God is condemning you, it will be because you wasted your time in sin and allowed guilt to consume you.

How do you know if God forgives you? It is by having faith that God always keeps His word. "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). God is faithful. But if you are going to take a "woe is me" attitude and never do a thing about your sins, then of course you won't be forgive. It won't be God's fault, it will be your own doing. "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). Notice that your sorrow doesn't cause you to take any steps to change -- your sorrow is a worldly one.

Instead of filling up empty time with sinful behavior, go do something productive. Get out of your shell and do something to help another person. When your feelings urge you to do things contrary to God's teachings, go against your feelings.