Though I fully believe that God sees sin very differently than we do, and I fully believe we don’t really understand how he sees it, I humanly see sin as in two types.

One kind of sin are the little daily things that trip us up – yelling at strangers in traffic, being snippy with our spouses, impatience with our kids, et cetera. These are the kinds of things that we all deal with, that most of us wish we were better at, and when we’re on our game, that we apologize to the person we’ve hurt and we ask God to forgive us.

And then there’s the other kind of sin. That’s the kind when we are willingly doing something we know we shouldn’t be doing, either because of our own moral code or our beliefs. Like, for instance, having an affair when you’re married or extorting money from your company or what-have-you, things like that.

Many, many years ago, I did something bad that fell squarely in the second camp. I took a portion of money that had been given to my family as a gift and I used it secretly for personal gain to pay off credit card debt I had gotten myself into. I felt instant relief. For about fifteen minutes.

And then I fell into about three months of what Beth Moore calls “sin sickness”. I was grieving the Holy Spirit, quenching his work and movement in me. I was miserable. I lost my appetite. I couldn’t sleep. I stopped sharing with friends. Because I knew I was doing something wrong. Because I was lying. Because I was keeping a secret.

For those three months, I lost my joy, I lost connection with my Heavenly Father, and I believe I blocked every single one of my efforts in my marriage, my mothering, my work as a writer and speaker and women’s ministry leader, and my every prayer. I also was wildly judgmental of others. It was the oddest thing. It was the most clearcut case of not taking out the plank in my eye before pointing out the speck in someone else’s that I’d ever experienced.

And I’m wondering if this might be you right now. Do you have a secret? Are you breaking your own heart?

(Sidenote: Now, if you don’t prescribe to the Christian faith and you don’t believe in sin and you believe your life choices only affect yourself, then this post is one hundred percent not for you. Or, if you’re one of those new-ish brand of Christians that I personally cannot understand though I have tried where anything goes and all is grace and the definition of sin is simply not living up to your potential, this post will rub you the wrong way. Y’all have been lovingly warned.)

But if you do consider yourself to be a follower of Jesus and you do believe that there are certain things he calls us to do and certain things he warns against (for our own good) and you do believe that our choices have a ripple effect AND you are doing something you know you should not be doing (YOU WILL KNOW IF THIS IS YOU BECAUSE YOU WILL FEEL IT AS I AM WRITING TO YOU RIGHT NOW), I understand, because I’ve been there a time or two or a dozen or more.

But I want to tell you that there is a better way to live. That there is a way out. That you truly can stop what you’re doing and start over. That every single day is a chance for a fresh start.

Here are some steps you can take:

Admit to yourself that what you’re doing is breaking your own heart. Name it.
Then you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free. –John 8:32

Admit to God that you are so very sorry for the pain you are causing his heart. Trust that his forgiveness and grace are complete.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. -I John 1:9

Admit to a friend what you’ve been doing. I think you might be surprised by the grace you receive. Ask your friend to pray for you.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. –James 5:16a

Someone wrote me recently to confess something to me.  I shared some difficult truth in love in as much gentleness as I possibly could. She wrote me back much later to tell me thank you, to tell me she hadn’t wanted to hear what I said, to tell me she was grateful I spoke truth to her, to tell me she had stopped what she was doing and was taking steps to make amends and turn things around.

I told her I was so proud of her. I told her that I believed fully that God never stopped loving her through that season, but that I believed he was smiling over her in a new way as she was attempting to move forward into the light.

Are you tired and weighed down by your choices that keep getting you into trouble, that keep hurting others but also yourself?

Sweet girl, stop. Take some deep breaths. And return to the God who created you and loves you. He will give you the strength to do what is whole and holy.

Do not fear, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you.
-Isaiah 41:10


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