Ask Your Preacher
Why do I keep repeating the same sin even though I try to turn it over to God? I feel so weak and shameful.
There are two pieces to the puzzle of repetitive sins:
1. How many times can I ask for forgiveness for the same sin?
2. How do I remove this sin from my life?
The answer to the first part is simple. You can ask for forgiveness an innumerable amount of times. Christ told Peter that we should forgive ‘seventy times seven’ (Matt 18:21-22). Paul was forgiven of his sins even after killing christians and actively persecuting the church (1 Tim 1:16). As often as we truly repent, God is ready to forgive (Lk 17:4). It is quite possible to truly repent of something and then find yourself doing that same thing not minutes later. It happens in arguments all the time! You say something mean, apologize, then find yourself upset again, and again use rash words. The repeating of the cycle is not necessarily an indication of false sorrow.
However, the second part of your question deals with stopping this cycle. God will forgive you for stumbling again into the same sin, but only if you are truly attempting to change your mind. Paul reminds us that we are to do everything we can to flee from the slavery to sin (Rom 6:1-2, Rom 6:12-13). Without knowing what sin you are caught up in, I can’t give specific advice, but I recommend getting help if it is as consuming as you say. Many sins can become addictions that are very hard to break. Here are some things to consider:
1. Are you trying to change all on your own? God says two are stronger than one (Eccl 4:9-10). In the case of sin like pornography, many people try and struggle through it alone without seeking help because of the shame involved in it becoming known. This rarely, if ever, works. Telling someone, even just one trusted friend, and using things like Covenant Eyes accountability software can make all the difference in such circumstances.
2. Are you putting yourself in compromising situations? People with drug and alcohol addictions are often tempted back into their old habits by drinking buddies or parties where drugs are made available. You may need to cut off certain people and habits from your life in order to escape that sort of sin. Remember, Christ said it would be better to remove even your own hand if it would free you from a sin (Matt 5:30).
Removing sin from our lives is a constant struggle. God is ready to forgive you ‘seventy times seven’ as you fight to defeat this sin, but you must look yourself in the mirror and make sure you are taking the steps necessary to change your life.
How do I let go of guilty feelings that haunt me all the time for any and all wrong I've done throughout my life, regardless of how wrong the act. I've repented and asked forgiveness and honestly feel remorse. I know Jesus forgives and forgets, but how do I forget? It keeps me from feeling like I bettered myself by doing right, and I am not worthy of God's blessings. I feel He should bless others who are more worthy.
Please guide me in the right direction to accept my forgiveness from our Savior.
What you are asking is one of the most difficult things in life – forgiving yourself. Like all things, God is better at forgiveness than we are. Many people hold on to the guilt and shame of sin far too keenly. God tells us that there are several things to remember:
- Even if your heart condemns you, God keeps His promises. On the Judgment Day, we will be judged by God’s standards, not whether or not we feel worthy (1 Jn 3:20).
- We can reassure our own hearts that we have been forgiven when we study and live by the truth of the Bible (1 Jn 3:18-20). The more we immerse ourselves in God’s teachings, the quicker we begin to realize that forgiveness isn’t about being worthy… but about having faith in the mercy of God.
- Another way to look at your problem is to remember that saying, “I can’t believe God will forgive me” is the same as saying, “I don’t believe that Jesus’ sacrifice was enough”. That may sound harsh, but our forgiveness is based upon Jesus’ blood (Col 2:14). It is an act of faith in Jesus to accept our own forgiveness.
All in all, self-forgiveness takes time… just like all areas of growth.
All right, so I have always considered myself a Christian, but lately, something has bothered me. In the Old Testament, in order to make up for the things humans did, they would sacrifice things. Jesus dying on the cross was supposed to be the ultimate sacrifice, right? So, why would a loving and caring God want/need death or Jesus to die in order to make everything right? Couldn't He have just forgiven us on His own out of the goodness of His heart?
Live And Let Live
Dear Live And Let Live,
God sent Jesus to die on the cross, so He could be both a just God and a loving God. If God had simply forgiven us of our sins without paying for them, He would be a liar because God says that sin is deserving of eternal death (Rom 6:23). It wouldn’t be right for Him to simply remove our guilt without paying for it. It would be akin to a judge letting people go free simply because he liked them – a judge like that would be corrupt.
Instead, we see that God is both just and our justifier. Jesus’ blood pays the price of our sin (1 Jn 1:7). There are two ways to pay for sin. We can pay for the sin ourselves by spending eternity in hell, or God’s blood can cover the cost of sin. The Son of God came down and gave Himself to purchase us (Acts 20:28). Rom 3:25-26 says that God sent Jesus, so He could show that He was loving and still righteous.
I have a question. Are sport bars sinful? Some people say that they are because there is nothing good in those places. The lust of the women who work there and that go there, beer, drunkenness, and fights – all of those are wrong.
A Sporting Chance?
Dear A Sporting Chance,
You’ve answered your own question. Bars and taverns are not the kind of place a Christian should be. Our responsibility as Christians is to try and flee immorality (1 Tim 6:11) and flee temptation (2 Tim 2:22). Alcohol is part of a culture that emphasizes worldliness. Christians should use wisdom in every situation to discern between habits that are generally beneficial and habits that are generally destructive. God never specifically condemns all alcohol, but He does condemn ‘strong drink’ (Pr 20:1), drinking parties (1 Pet 4:3), and drunkenness (Rom 13:13). A sports bar is an establishment designed as one big drinking party. Avoid bars at all costs.
Will a Christian man ever get back on the path of life after sleeping with an adulteress woman?
I Really Messed Up
Dear I Really Messed Up,
Yes, you can be forgiven, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences for your actions. Paul said that he was chief amongst sinners, and yet, Christ forgave him (1 Tim 1:15-16). Forgiveness is available when we confess our sins to Christ (1 Jn 1:9) and repent of them (Acts 3:19). ‘Repentance’ means to ‘change your mind’… literally to make a change in how you think and act. If you haven’t already stopped the adulterous relationship, you need to – now. You also need to come clean about it; honesty and truth are a foundational concept in Christianity (Jhn 8:32). Deception destroys; open truth illuminates (Jhn 3:19-20). You have dug a big hole for yourself… it is time to get to work filling that hole back in.
Of course, all of this is moot if you aren’t a christian yet. To see what the Bible says it takes to become a christian, read “What Must I Do To Be Saved?”. It is obvious you want God’s forgiveness, and the Bible is the only book that can tell you how to get it.