I came across you on the Internet and am in need of some help and guidance. I am 19 years old, and I will try and make this story as short and to the point as possible. I apologize if it gets lengthy, and I please ask you to read the whole email and respond. I recently made the worst mistake of my life and need your opinion and help.
I was born into a Christian home. I grew up hearing the Gospel and about the Truth. I accepted Christ as my personal Savior. However, growing up I struggled with pornography. That then led to masturbation. After every fall I would cry out to the Lord with a heart full of regret and hope of forgiveness. I fell countless times, and asked for forgiveness repeatedly. I would go a certain period of time in victory, but suddenly I would fall again and repeat the whole process over again. This was all happening from around the age of 14 to approximately 18.
When I felt as though I had conquered these sins. I was baptized. I lived a few months of victory and happiness that a Christian should have. Looking back I can not believe I let that all slip away.
As I came back home from summer, I found myself not knowing what to do. I was bored, quite frankly. Instead of finding things to do that were meaningful and useful, I remembered about an app that some of my peers in college would talk about. Stupidly, I joined this same app. To cut to the chase this app connects local people in the area by the basis of whether or not you found them attractive or not. I was playing with fire and I did not realize it at the time.
Some girl invited me over to "hang out", and I went over to her place not intending anything. We watched a little T.V. and then started cuddling. My mind began to cloud with judgment. I touched her chest area, she touched my private parts. My mind was then completely clouded and looking back I completely lost sight of myself. Before I knew what was going on her mouth was around my private area.
Suddenly I came into my own and I my mind and heart started racing. I couldn't believe what I just did. I was not only raised, but I myself really wanted to save myself until marriage, and not have any physical contact until then. Not even a "goodnight kiss." I was saving everything for my future wife. Here I engaged in oral sexual activities (even though it was for only a few seconds) the deed was done. I didn't realize what was happening and before I knew what was occurring I fell into great sin. There was no intercourse, there was no penetration, I didn't kiss this lady. However, I still committed fornication, and I couldn't believe what I just done.
I raced home and fell straight on my knees. I cried like I never had before. I realized that I never truly became a Christian deep down in my inner heart since I was capable of things like these. I cried and shouted up to the Lord for forgiveness and repentance. I prayed Psalm 51 (The Psalm when David repented) and found Bible verses such as I John 1:9 that say that those who confess their sins to the Lord will be forgiven and cleansed. I prayed all these things and I believe that I was forgiven. I believe that I am free from the sins of lust, as I am not drawn to the things of that any longer. I prayed for forgiveness and I believe I am forgiven.
However, a month passed and I still have feelings of guilt and regret that creep upon me. This is why I am writing this email to you.
My family is a well known family throughout the church community in our area. They are very well respected and always held us to a high standard. I feel so incredibly guilty that I committed this sin. First and foremost I hurt because I broke a relationship I had with Jesus Christ. I am working my hardest on restoring that first and foremost. The next thing that is causing me guilt and regret is the fact that I did that and caused them pain as well. I cannot bring myself to telling them what I did. I feel like it would crush them. I bring myself to tears just writing about this. In some ways I feel as if I am not truly forgiven and free from this sin until I tell them. I go through stages where I am peaceful and happy, knowing I am forgiven. Then suddenly I feel incredible regret and guilt by what I have done.
I guess my questions for you are:
- What can I do to get rid of these feelings of regret and guilt that eat me up inside?
- I know that I tainted the purity that I was saving for my wife; however, is all hope lost for me?
- Is it absolutely necessary that I tell my parents about what I have done? I John 1:9 says "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I fully believe these words. However is confessing to Jesus Christ all it takes? or do I have to do so to my parents as well? Am I lying to them by not telling them? I just can't bring myself to cause them any pain and sorrow.
Thank you for taking the time to read this email. I realize that I may have dragged it on a bit. When I started writing my mind started racing and I just had to write everything down. I am patiently waiting for your reply.
Guilt serves a purpose. A person ought to feel guilty for having sinned in the past. It is a reminder to him not to repeat his sin. It is the person who feels no guilt about his past sins who has the problem. I once met a boy who casually told me about killing his best friend because he had sex with his girlfriend. There was no remorse in this boy. He felt he had every right to take another person's life. That, my friend, was a very scary young man.
What seems to be missing is a full understanding about why you fell into sin and confidence that you are not going to repeat this sin. For example, if you and I were talking, I would be asking you where you thought you made your mistakes and what warning signs you ignored. I would also ask what steps have you taken so that you don't repeat this sin. I would then have you study with me about sexual sins from the Bible. The latter is important: "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You!" (Psalms 119:11).
The reason for talking with someone else about your struggles with sin is for the same reason. "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). Knowing that someone else cares and is praying for you gives you an extra boost in resisting sin. Nothing is said about who you talk to about your struggles, other than the implication that it should be someone righteous. Nowhere is there an indication that a person has to talk to another person in order to gain God's forgiveness. Whether you decide to tell your parents that you are struggling is up to you.
When a person commits a sexual sin, he is impacting himself. "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body" (I Corinthians 6:18). You have not impacted your future wife, whom you have not even met at this time.