Why don’t I feel as much over my sins?

Last updated on March 12, 2024



I hope this message finds you well.

I am 15 years old, and I have found myself falling into great sin. I commit heinous acts of self-abuse (i.e., masturbation), lust and pornography usage, etc. I know from seeing some of your articles that you don’t consider masturbation always to be inherently sinful. While I disagree with you on that point, in my case, it is definitely sinful, as lustful thoughts or pornography always accompany it. This happened every day until recently; I’ve managed as of late to avoid it for a few days, which I have done before, but then fell back into this sin today.

But more concerning than any of these is the aspect of conviction. You see, this sin has been going on for years. Since the start of adolescence, I have been committing this sin. At first, it happened rarely, perhaps a couple of times a month or so. Then, over the course of a depressingly short time, that became weekly, then multiple times a week, and that became a daily sin. But whenever I committed this sin, I felt intense shame and deep conviction for my sins. But I’ve noticed that this has been lessening over time. I barely feel any conviction now, and I fear that the reason may be because I have lost the Holy Spirit and, thus, my salvation. Is there any truth to this idea? If so, is it possible to improve and be saved? I know rationally that my sins are deeply wrong and that I ought to be incredibly ashamed of them (which I am to a certain degree, just not nearly enough), but I do not feel nearly as much conviction as before. What’s wrong with me, and how can that be changed?


One thing to notice about people is that we tend to focus on the physical aspects of problems and skip over the spiritual aspects. You are showing this in your note. You concentrate on the fact that you are masturbating and barely touch on the problem that is causing you to want to masturbate frequently. Masturbating is not “self-abuse.” However, choosing to pollute your mind with pornography is abusing yourself.

No one is required to masturbate, and if you can live without it, that is fine. Your body will find ways to get rid of the excess semen, usually through wet dreams, spontaneous ejaculations, or gradual release that gets flushed out when you pee. My point has always been that releasing semen through masturbation isn’t wrong by itself. It isn’t the physical act that is the problem. It is your use of lust to get yourself aroused that is the real problem. God defines what is right or wrong, and I gave my reasons from the Scriptures in Is masturbation sinful or not? All you offered me was your disagreement, yet your reason returns to my point: the problem is your lust.

We each have a conscience (a judgment center) that warns us when we might be doing something wrong. That alarm system is trainable. Sometimes, we think something is wrong, and it turns out we are wrong. For example, in his younger years, Paul thought Christianity was wrong and helped put people to death for being Christians. He learned he was wrong, and he changed radically. Sometimes, we think something is right, and it turns out we are wrong. Jeremiah warned, “I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). What you or I think is the correct path is not always correct. We need to follow God’s guidance, found in the Scriptures.

Often, the fact that our conscience is trainable is a good thing as we learn better ways to live. But repeated exposure to anything dulls the alarms. “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19). You’re probably thinking, “That’s what I’ve been telling you.” However, what I see is a young man who has gotten used to pornography and lustful thoughts about sex. How much you feel that something is wrong isn’t an accurate measure. It is wrong because God said it is wrong.

While you technically know pornography is wrong, I would like you to read through a couple of articles about why pornography is so bad. See A Look at Pornography and Lies Pornography Tells Men. Next, focus on staying away from pornography. Stop leaving it at theory and make it a battle. Lustful thoughts will creep in, and they are harder to keep under control, but a major source of those thoughts is the porn that you are watching. If you cut off the source, the thoughts will fade over time. A secondary effect is that you won’t be aroused as often, so your body will slow down its semen production, and you won’t need to ejaculate as frequently.

Whether you have the Spirit isn’t based on your feelings but on your doing. “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (I John 2:3-6). You’ve gotten off-track, but that doesn’t mean you can’t correct the course you are heading. Getting out of pornography isn’t easy, but men have done it with effort.


Dear Pastor,

I hope this message finds you well.

As stated in my previous email, I am 15 years old, and I have a severe addiction to pornography and masturbation (though I do not always necessarily use the former to commit the latter). You mentioned that, in your opinion, it is not a sin to masturbate, and you correctly pointed out that I offered no arguments to support my position. This is true, and I did so because I do not believe this is the best avenue for doctrinal debates. However, I must reiterate that I cannot masturbate without feeling some sense of self-disgust and shame, and I believe that this is a good thing.

This is important for me to mention because whenever I do so, it is always accompanied by not only lustful thoughts (which we both agree to be sinful) but unusual and depraved lustful thoughts, things that are far beyond what any rational person would even think to lust after. Secular society, of course, would have no problem with this because these things do not transgress the law of man but only that of God, Whom our society has forgotten. Without getting too specific, these desires are incredibly distressing and rather degenerate. I have prayed for God to take away these sexual fantasies, but such a thing has not happened. At first, I thought that these desires came about through my excessive and sinful use of pornography, but even without it, these desires remain within me, which makes me think that they may be more deep-seated. I continue to pray for deliverance from this ailment, but are there any practical steps to take that will help me in the fight against these desires?

Thank you.


I don’t blame you for wanting to avoid triggering lustful thoughts, and I understand the drive. My point in our previous exchange is to ensure you understand where the actual battle lies and not become distracted and blame the wrong thing.

What caught my eye was, “I do not always necessarily use [pornography] to [masturbate].” Let’s clarify this point. There are times when pornography is excused because the guy doesn’t have his penis out at the time he is watching. This doesn’t make watching pornography less wrong. It still fills the mind with inappropriate images that come to the surface at other times. You cannot easily erase what you’ve seen or experienced.

You’ve asked God to take away the sexual fantasies, but understand that you are the one who originally chose to put them in your mind. God doesn’t take away our freedom to choose, even when He sees us making dumb choices. Often, we have to deal with the consequences of our sins to learn not to sin again.

As I mentioned before, the first step in changing is to eliminate the sources of the problem. You can’t stop lustful fantasies while continuing to plant more lustful images in your mind. Therefore, how long has it been since you’ve last looked at pornography? If you find yourself impulsively going back to pornography, then you need to find ways to make it hard to look at it, such as installing a porn blocker on all your devices. At the same time, you need to replace your idle time with something active that holds your focus while you battle the temptation.

  • Find a hobby, such as woodworking, photography, reading, camping, or gardening.
  • Exercise, such as going for a run, doing calisthenics, or taking martial arts.

What you don’t want is anything that brings you close to the source of your temptation. Therefore, no video games or research on the Internet.

I tend to be practical-minded. There are likely going to be times when you find yourself masturbating without intending to do so. There are going to be times when lustful thoughts pop up in your mind. Battle them as best you can, but don’t beat yourself up over setbacks. “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity” (Proverbs 24:16). We don’t want setbacks, but pick yourself up and try again. Make adjustments to patch up the weak areas. And, of course, involve God in your concerns with prayer. The longer you stay away from pornography, the more you will find the lustful images fading. It will take months or even years, but they will fade. As they fade, you will find yourself becoming more successful is staying away from lustful thoughts.