If you’re struggling with a past or current sin, feeling like you could never be forgiven, hiding in shame, then this True Woman blog post is absolutely for you. —Samantha Nieves, LYWB.com Blog Content Manager
In the years God has blessed me to work with people and to minister to other women, I have come to see the enemy holding believers down and robbing them of joy with shame and guilt. The Evil One is masterful at deceiving people, even God’s children, into believing God can’t possibly forgive them and they will always be defined by what they did in the past.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard women say:
- I can’t be used by God because _________.
- I know they will think I’m crazy if I tell them I did _______.
- I can’t serve at church. Don’t you know I used to _______?
- I can’t ask for help because____________.
- I can’t have any joy because I did _______________.
- I can’t teach my kids about Jesus if they know I _______________.
It’s hard to live like the redeemed when you keep forgetting you are redeemed!
The Bible really does say, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17).
But the enemy doesn’t want you to believe that . . . and he certainly doesn’t want you to live like you do!
Watch Out for the Accuser’s Lies
In Revelation 12:10, Satan is called the “accuser of our brothers.” Do you know that “Satan” in Hebrew means “accuser”?
Pay attention to the accusations you hear about yourself. They are often an assault meant to keep you from doing all God wants to do through you and to keep you from living free from guilt and shame.
The accuser wants to rob us of all joy and peace and contentment. He is the one who reminds us of sin that God has already forgiven. Satan wants us to believe that the blood of Jesus is not enough to remove that sin and shame from our lives.
What a liar.
I know he’s a liar because he has lied to me. Just like every other subject God has ever allowed me to write or speak about, I’ve personally experienced this. Can I just tell you I’ve been on the field trip of believing Satan’s lies, and it is no place to stay?
Maybe you aren’t like me. Maybe you don’t have any big regrets. However, I do. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve laid awake at night with an ache in my stomach over something I’ve said or done.
And what about those really bad things we’ve done? Those things that have so horrifically hurt someone else and have consequences we can’t fix? How can we live with shame and regret so deep that we dare not tell anyone about it?
What about those sins that everyone knows about? What about when asking for forgiveness from the one we’ve hurt is not even possible? What then? How can we be free from that choking, heavy burden and live life abundantly? Is it possible?
It is possible—but only in the light of the cross.
As Far as the East Is from the West
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us (Ps. 103:11–12).
“As far as the east is from the west.” I read those words, yet how I have struggled to apply them to my own life!
Why does it seem so easy to tell others that God has forgiven them and sometimes so hard to accept it ourselves?
For many years, I spoke and gave my testimony and had people come up to me telling me how it encouraged them. I would then get in my car and want to throw up because I would remember my past sins. I knew those women in the audience didn’t really know everything about me, and I knew they certainly didn’t know that I had told my best friend—my sweet, tall, dark, and handsome turned pitiful, drug-addicted husband—that I hated him only a few days before he committed suicide.
For years, I had told no one. For years, I had pleaded with God that Rick remembered my words of love the last morning I saw him and not my stinging horrible words the night before. I drove to his grave many times and watered the grass with my tears. I couldn’t take those words back. I prayed God would somehow tell Rick I was so sorry, and I prayed God would forgive me. Yet for years I didn’t accept God’s forgiveness, and the awful scene played over and over in my head like a horror movie.
Then one day the Holy Spirit helped me realize it wasn’t God who wants to remind me of those hurtful words—it was the enemy who wants to drown me in shame and make me feel unworthy to tell others about my story of God’s goodness in my life.
This I know: Without God, I am nothing but a heap of tears and regrets, but because of the cross I am forgiven. Completely, forever forgiven!
As I follow God daily and seek out His Truth, I can fend off the lies of enemy and keep on walking in freedom. I’m not perfect and I never will be, but because of Jesus my sins (the old ones and the new ones) are removed as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12).
I seek to live my life every day as He would have me live it—not because I could ever be good enough, but because He is the One who knows all the answers, makes no mistakes, and perfectly loves the sinner that I am. He did it all. His blood is enough. He is my everything. And He provides freedom over my sin, guilt, and regret.
Grateful for the Grace
Those truths that are true for me are true for you, too!
You have not out-sinned God’s ability to forgive you, and shame is never a place our Father wants you to live.
If there is someone who needs to hear your apology, go to them. However, if that is no longer possible, tell your Father and accept the forgiveness He offers. Remember, God’s forgiveness is complete and forever, and He doesn’t bring it back up and remind you of it. (That is the voice of our accusing enemy—not God!)
And by all means, don’t allow the enemy the joy of holding you down and keeping you from serving God! Instead, be eternally grateful for the grace you have received, be deliberate to praise your Father on every remembrance of it . . . and serve Him!
And consider this: Though you may have been knocked down by the enemy, though you may have cooperated with him in sin, like Peter, when you get up (yes, get up!), strengthen your brothers (Luke 22:31–32).
I will leave you with this: I have two friends. One had an abortion, and one had two babies outside of marriage. These two women are serving on the frontlines of the pro-life movement with tremendous authenticity and amazing effectiveness. I’m sure the accuser would like to have kept them down and out, shackled by their shame and guilt. Instead, they’re walking in freedom and being used by the King to set captives free and save lives of the unborn like few I have ever met.
Remember, none of us are perfect. That’s why we need a Savior! In the words of Martin Luther, “We are all mere beggars showing other beggars where to find bread.”
So, let’s go show them!