Dear Young Sinner,
I cannot imagine how you are feeling right now. I’m sure a range of emotions are going through your head. What you thought may deliver fun, happiness, and memories has probably actually resulted in regret, shame, anxiety, & worry. One lesson to learn here is that ALL sins we knowingly commit against God and against what we know to be right will result in the same negative feelings. Only as we continue to surrender our life to Jesus and walk in God’s ways will we feel the joy, peace, love, and fulfillment we were born searching for!
God always takes something ugly and turns it into something beautiful if you will only surrender it to him. The things that Satan means to hurt you by and with, God will turn around and use it for your good and His Glory (Genesis 50:20). He uses all things good and bad for our good (Romans 8:28). Satan tricks us and deceives us into thinking we will be happy, have fun, and get pleasure from going against God and knowingly sinning but he is tricking us only. Remember the story of Adam and Eve? Satan promised Eve she would have knowledge if she only went against God and ate the apple. She did it. Satan tricked her (2 Corinthians 11:3). She suffered consequences as a result and was unable to live in the perfect joy and peace God had intended for her. We have to trust that God knows what is best for us, and His commands are there for good reason.
His commands are set up for our protection and to give us joy. Happiness is fleeting. It can be given and taken away and change in a second’s notice. JOY is everlasting. Joy does not change. Joy is happiness and peace through any and every situation, no matter what it is. We obtain this joy from God alone.
If we knowingly swerve from God’s commandments and plan for our life and into sin, we are robbing ourselves of the abundant, wonderful life he has planned for us. We may not see the abundant, wonderful life blessings immediately but we will see the results ultimately. HE wants to lavish you with joy & blessings if you abide in him, trust in him, and put your hope in him alone.
Any regret I have in my life looking back was a time that I knowingly sinned and rebelled against God. I thought I knew better than God, my parents, and Godly people around me and did things ‘my way.’ Environment and friends can play a major role in lowering our standards. As the bible says, “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33). No matter how hard we try, surrounding ourselves with people who have lower standards will lead to corruption of yours. This is biblical wisdom . In the same way, surrounding yourself with Christian friends of good character will encourage strength and growth of good character. Yes Jesus made friends with ‘sinners’ but first of all— it was Jesus. Second, his goal was to change them and call them out of their sin by showing them a better way of life. Third, while he knew them as sinners and ate with them, he never engaged in the sin and always spoke against sin.
Most of those bad decisions were a result of bad friends who influenced me poorly and made me think what I knew to be very wrong was ‘normal’ and nothing to worry about. This is another way Satan tricks us. He makes us believe that high standards are outdated and that society is changing. One of the biggest things I wish I had done differently is choose my college friends wisely and be sure they were strong Christians who had the same values. I always knew deep down that God had better plans for me. Sometimes you have to delay pleasure and something good in the moment for something awesome down the road.
Unfortunately, sin brings consequences, brings death, and robs you of blessings. When I say ‘death’ you probably think of dying. What I mean is the death of something such as death of trust, death of purity, death of joy, death of happiness, death of a relationship. Sin leads to destruction. Unfortunately, you are already feeling the consequences of bad decisions. Sin separates us from God, from knowing Him closely, and ultimately leads to eternal separation from all that is good.
BUT the wonderful news is that Jesus died to pay our penalty for sins. That doesn’t mean that there are not earthly consequences to sin. That does not mean that you do not reap what you sow. It does mean that we do not have to live in shame, in sorrow, and feeling condemned. As the bible says, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. The bible also says that there is no one worthy…no NOT ONE!!! Mother Teresa, The Pope, Your pastor…NO ONE! The only worthy person to ever walk this earth without sin was Jesus Christ.
IF we repent, believe and put our hope, faith, and trust in Jesus as our Savior, he alone pays for our sin. He turns something bad into something good. He uses what the devil meant to hurt us to help us. He will use this time and these bad decisions for good in your life. Whether you develop an amazing testimony from it or you are able to lead and help other’s overcome temptation, he will use you if you will only let him.
I know the power of grace and forgiveness. Grace means giving someone something they do not deserve. Jesus is the perfect example of Grace. We didn’t deserve for him to die for our sins but he did any way, no matter how big or bad they are. We are called to offer the same grace and forgiveness to others as Jesus offers us.
You have the world at the tip of your fingers and your entire life ahead of you. You have an opportunity to be a leader and be bold in your next steps. I have confidence that you will emerge from this stronger and better than ever.
And most of all, please know that just because you messed up one day doesn’t mean you have to go on in the same behavior. Turn the chapter and write the next one as you would want it. Surround yourself with friends who are of good character. Surrender your life & mistakes to Christ. You will be amazed at the abundant life these two key factors will pave the way for.