Question (from the Facebook community): I have so much guilt and condemnation for myself and I have to fight the feeling that God is saying I got what I deserve {for getting married when I didn’t think it was in God’s will for me}. In my insecure heart I feel this way: is God punishing me?”
Oh, sweet girl. I just want to put my arms around you.
I do believe God allows hardships to come into our lives to help us grow and change and mature. And I believe that we must live with the natural consequences of our sin and of our poor choices. I don’t think those of us who follow Christ get a free pass. Two Christians who have sex before they’re married are just as likely to get pregnant as two people who aren’t believers. Life follows certain patterns of cause and effect.
But do I believe that God is punishing you for marrying the “wrong” person? No.
My dear mentor has walked me through several years of heartache and faith-stretching relational quandaries.  When I would come to her with some horrible self-judgment or a comment ringing in my ears that pierced my heart, she would say something like, “If the voice that you’re hearing is harsh or condemning, it’s not the voice of Jesus.” And then my shoulders would always unclench and I would sigh deeply.
Do you know Jesus, dear one? Have you asked him to forgive you for the wrong things you’ve done in your marriage, including the possibility that you got married to someone who you didn’t think God wanted you to?

Then you are free. When God looks at your heart, he doesn’t see your past. He doesn’t see your poor choices. He doesn’t see the things you choose to do out of stubbornness or selfishness. He sees Christ.

This would be a wonderful time to do a Step 4 and Step 5 from the Twelve Steps of recovery.

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Here’s how I did this. I made four lists. One was a list of all I had done wrong in my life. (That took a while.) Then a list of all the wrong done to me. Then a list of all the right I had done. And finally a list of all the right done to me. It took some time. But I gave myself a deadline so I wouldn’t draw this out and be completely self-absorbed for months on end. I think I gave myself maybe two weeks. I prayed first asking the Holy Spirit to help me recall only what he needed me to.

Then I took that list and got on my knees next to my favorite chair and looked out at my gorgeous (former) pond and confessed it all to God.  I then brought it to my mentor and spilled my guts out. Humbling beyond any experience I’ve ever known.  I told her everything.  E-very-thing.  She amazingly wasn’t shocked. And then she prayed for me. A beautiful, gentle prayer of cleansing and forgiveness and grace.
These steps helped me walk with my head held a bit higher and my burden much lighter. I heard someone speak of a parable of a man who walked around his life with a piece of paper in each of his pockets. One said, “I am but dust and ashes,”; the other, “The world was created for me.” We should strive to find that balance.
Have you messed up? Of course, everyone has. Is God punishing you? No. Can you be forgiven and move on? Absolutely. Starting right now.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…  Romans 8:1 (KJV)

If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here.


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