I have shared many of my past mistakes and failures with many of you, but there is one I haven’t shared but with only a select few. There is a past sin in my life that still tries to haunt me to this day. My past sin brings feelings of guilt, condemnation, fear and sorrow. Throughout the years, I have spilled many tears over this heavy burden I have carried in shame.
Today many of us still suffer in our own self-imposed prisons due to bad decisions we have made in our pasts. We don’t allow ourselves to fully enjoy today because we suffer from the guilt of our past mistakes and past sins. We can’t seem to allow ourselves to enjoy the freedom and fullness in Christ because of the unrelenting shame and guilt that keeps coming back to remind us that we don’t deserve a good marriage, or wonderful children, or a promotion and the list goes on. The enemy has tried to somehow cheapen and lessen God’s mercy and grace and the lie whispered to us tells us, we are not worthy because remember……remember what you did!!
Ephesians 2:4-5 says But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.
I met my husband while working together at a clinic over sixteen years ago. We quickly became friends because we had some things in common: we both worked the night shift, we both had daughters, we both were lonely, he was divorced and I had marital problems. Did you catch the last common denominator?
I began to share with him my marriage problems. He was a great listener he really cared about what I was feeling. He understood me. I began looking forward to going to work. I would dress up extra special because I knew he was going to be there. I would check the schedule to see when he was working. I would take extra shifts so I could see him more. He would call into work and talk to me when he wasn’t working. We were flirting and I knew it, but I justified it in my mind because it felt nice to be liked. He looked at me with hungry eyes, like a lion looks at its prey and I liked it.
I told myself I hadn’t done anything wrong. I hadn’t kissed him, I hadn’t had sex with him so I wasn’t cheating. This went on for several months. One night I was having a ladies night out and I went to my girlfriends house to hangout. Shortly after I arrived, I decided to leave and go to his house instead, because my feelings for him were growing stronger and the urges and desire to see him proved too strong to fight.
That night I ended up having sex with him and breaking my marriage vows with my then husband and I committed adultery. Right now, as I type these words on the screen all the shame and guilt come rushing back. I remember crying and breaking down right after we had kissed because I couldn’t believe what had happened. I didn’t mean for that to happen. Even though I knew what I had been doing was wrong I thought I was strong enough to not give in. I was sure I could stand up against the temptation, I wasn’t weak like those other women who gave in. See that’s the lie I had believed that women who fell into adultery were weak and so I couldn’t possibly fall into that trap.
After we had kissed the guilt was so strong instead of leaving at that very moment, I stayed and I gave into temptation and we had sex. I thought I would never be that woman. I had just been flirting a little and enjoying the attention but I hadn’t planned for it to go this far. In my mind I had loved my husband and I had valued our marriage, what was I thinking and what had I done? How could I have not seen this coming?
I went back to my friend’s house and spilled every detail to her, I showed her my new hicky on my neck which she promptly helped me cover up with makeup. She told me not to tell anyone and not to tell my husband. Although I felt bad and shameful about what I had done there was a part of my sin that made my heart race and I couldn’t stop. Soon I was having a full-blown affair. Our affair ended shortly thereafter, and my heart was torn. My marriage ended in divorce with me never admitting my affair.
Fast forward sixteen years and I am now married to that man I met long ago at the clinic. He is my best friend, the love of my life, the only man I have ever loved. I thought I knew what love was before but not until I accepted Jesus and married my husband now have I come to know what real love is. God is love so love can’t exist with Him. We are both very different people than we were all those years ago. Actually I wonder if there is anything left in us of our former selves. Jesus Christ has come into our hearts and cleaned house. We have a great marriage, not perfect but it is filled with lots of love, grace and forgiveness.
For years I have lived with the shame and guilt of our affair. I was so filled with condemnation I wouldn’t allow myself to fully enjoy my marriage now. I was consumed with fear that my husband would commit adultery on me because after all that’s how we met. I would have thoughts telling me I didn’t deserve a good marriage, and that I was the same person and its only a matter of time until I too commit adultery again. All LIES! LIES! Not one bit of truth, but because I was unwilling to confess and even share about my past sin I was in a prison held by lies, I couldn’t tell a lie apart from the truth.
The enemy loves to come and tell us truth and then a little lie and we are convinced everything he said was true. A lie is a lie it can’t have truth in it. A little lie in a big truth makes all of it a lie. We battle in our minds with the thoughts of well yes that did happen, yep I did do that yes I said that, but we don’t see that along with those things we did do or did say are smothered with lies.
Today I share with you I am a sinner saved by God’s grace alone. Please forgive me for not sharing sooner my faults and weaknesses. You see I believed the lie people would only like me if I was perfect, with no faults, and no sin. I am here to tell you my friends, that perfection is impossible! There is only one person who was ever perfect here on this earth and His name is Jesus Christ.
My prayer today is for us all, that we would be a people of confession, forgiveness, mercy and grace. I pray that we would live today free to enjoy God’s love because we are forgiven. No matter what you have done God’s grace is enough. He is our deliverer allow him to carry your burdens, and brokeness. God please carry us today wrap us up in your love. We are free to love and live fully alive in him today, in Jesus name amen.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.