A young woman asked about guilt after falling to pornography. It was a good question. A deep question. A real question.
should we feel overly guilty and dirty 24/7, or should we not feel guilty at all.
I have been in the place of needing to ask that question, just as a matter of questionning my own faith. It goes something like this:
I fall to pornography and don’t feel guilty while doing it (obviously, or I wouldn’t)
Immediately after, I don’t really feel anything- guilt, remorse, nothing- and attempt to go on with my life as if I just finished a fudgesicle.
I sit down for devotions and come face to face with a brick wall– the outer boundary of God’s holiness and realize that something is hindering me from communing with my Saviour.
Then, I remember- now I feel horrible. On top of that, I feel bad for not feeling bad to begin with.
In that moment, I am faced with a choice. I can…
a) Close my Bible and end devotions right there because I don’t deserve to come before God
b) Hit my knees in repentence and cling to the truth that if I confess my sin, He is faithful and just to forgive it, and then press in to His presence knowing that it is only by His grace that I will ever have freedom
Our problem is, we pick a… a lot and keep going back to the beginning. We feel there is some sort of waiting period for forgiveness. We feel God wants us to break free and then, and only then, ask Him for forgiveness. On top of that, we may ask Him for forgiveness and He promises He will, but then we walk around acting like we are still condemned. Instead of bearing the guilt, we walk around carrying it.
The entirety of that verse is, “But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
If God cleanses, I am pretty sure you’re cleansed. So, do I walk around beating myself up for being a good for nothing dirty rotten scoundrel? I should! Every day! My nature of sin is what separates me from, and yet what drives me to, God. Do I walk around beating myself up for specific sins? Well, not really. Often times, I don’t really feel the weight of what I’ve done until I try to fellowship with God. Then there is repentance and I think about how it happened, so I can identify my weaknesses, ask God to strengthen them, and work on protecting them so I don’t have to be in this place again.
To answer the question- you should feel dirty 24/7 until you experience a godly sorrow for your sin and repent. But once God forgives, He forgives. Now, do we keep on sinning because God keeps forgiving? Of course not. That would be like having a cocktail party at the foot of Calvary.
That’s for another day…