Practical Ways to End Guilt Feelings

How to be Free From Spiritual Deception

* * *

By Grantley Morris

Three Powerful Steps

1. Distinguish between feelings and reality

Feelings are fickle and easily manipulated by spiritual enemies or by life experiences that distort our perception of reality.

A pilot is a danger to himself and to everyone near him until he learns to totally disregard his own feelings as to his orientation and puts his faith solely in the plane’s instruments. Likewise, we are in grave danger until we come to disregard our feelings and place all our faith in God’s instrument panel – his Word. That’s because the Deceiver can mess with our feelings, but he can never change God’s truth. God’s Word always lines up with reality, allowing us to navigate our spiritual life with precision, whereas our feelings are invariably all over the place. So whether we crash or soar heavenwards hinges on whether we rely on God’s Word or on our emotions to determine whether we are right with God.

We keep hearing such testimonies as, “I asked Jesus into my heart and was flooded with love and peace,” “A voice spoke from nowhere, telling me God loves me,” “I just knew I was forgiven.” Anyone having such experiences is a spiritual babe and highly vulnerable to spiritual ruin until he or she rises to the point of saying, “I am holy in God’s sight because in the Bible the God who cannot lie has put it in writing and I will cling to this fact no matter what supernatural experiences suggest otherwise. I will remain immovable in my conviction, no matter how strong the circumstantial evidence that God has made me an exception to his universal promise to cleanse everyone who puts his/her faith in Jesus.”

For more on this important subject, bookmark this page (or do something to ensure you don’t lose the web address to this webpage – it is a huge website) and go to When God Seems Far Away and the page it leads to.

* * *

2. Turn head knowledge into heart knowledge

To flood your head with knowledge takes moments, but it takes months of effort for even a drip to soak through to that part of you – call it your heart, your conscience, your subconscious, or whatever – that most often influences your feelings.

Until we can get the truth to sink deep, everything within us is screaming against the truth; opposing every speck of spiritual progress. Until then, we have a bad conscience – not merely in the sense of a nagging conscience but in the sense of it being completely unreliable by accusing us when the divine Judge pronounces us innocent. Being lumbered with a malfunctioning conscience reduces an eternally fulfilling life into a draining, dispiriting struggle, like trying to keep pedaling a bicycle, pushing uphill against strong winds. As the truth trickles slowly into the deepest recesses of our being, however, our consciences gradually adjust. Eventually, it is as if the road flattens and the wind subsides, until finally we find ourselves coasting downhill with a tail wind, with only the occasional harder stretch.

For life to become this easy, our consciences must be reprogrammed by the Word of God. The limitation of the computer analogy, however, is that it suggests a process much quicker than it takes to correct one’s conscience. The human conscience is more complex than a machine. It is more like a pet dog trained to bark at strangers. Then its owner moves from a farm to high density housing where not only is there no need to bark at strangers, such behavior is unacceptable to neighbors. The difficult retraining process that this would require is a better picture of the frustration and effort involved in retraining one’s conscience. For your conscience to reach its current state probably took very many years and much repetition of negative messages going around and around in your head. So to retrain it will likewise take much time and repetition of messages.

The process starts in the head and, for most of us, negative thoughts have had a head start of many years. Ably supported by the enemy of our souls, our mind has been filling with lies that do not stand up to the truth of God’s Word. This head start means the devil’s lies will seem more real to us than God’s truth, and this will never change while we remain lazier than the forces attacking our minds. By in the past agreeing with the devil’s accusations against us – and before we were born again those accusations were accurate – we have developed powerful mental habits that are as difficult to break as any life-controlling addiction. The bad habit we have slipped into is thinking of ourselves as being the pathetic creature we would be if it had not been for Christ’s transforming power. Our thinking hasn’t caught up with present day spiritual realities; much less leapt to the unthinkable wonders God has planned for our future.

Although the Evil One has declared war on everyone who belongs to God, victory is yours for the taking. You have already surrendered, however, if you let his lies play in a continual loop in your mind, instead of constantly drowning out the lies by repeating God’s truth over and over and over in your mind. Any one of us can win, but I will not kid you – it takes hard mental effort. The lies will come effortlessly because they do not come from you and, having had a head start, they flow along time-worn paths. To displace the lies and to get the truth to trickle through rarely-traveled paths into our consciences takes continual effort. For years God-hating fiends have been filling our minds with lies. The only way to counteract the brainwashing is to fill our minds with truth as diligently as the enemies of Truth have been filling our minds with lies.

For this reason, despite there being so many other subjects I could be addressing, I have invested much time writing many webpages on this one subject. I have striven to produce for you a valuable resource, presenting the reality of your complete forgiveness in fresh, insightful, attention-grabbing ways. My goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to keep you meditating on the truth. The more you focus on the truth the more it will set you free. So devour the pages like a starving person. A single reading of all the relevant pages and Scriptures will not suffice, just as a single pill would not cure a physical sickness. Day in and day out, you need to keep taking the prescribed medication, even continuing for a while after you seem to be totally healed. There is no quick fix.

Why do we keep hoping for an instant, effortless cure when the Word of God is crammed with pleas like the following?

    Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

    Revelation 14:12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.

    Psalms 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.

    Deuteronomy 11:18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. (19) Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (20) Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates

    Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night . . .

    Colossians 4:12 Epaphras . . .  is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

    Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.


Yes, in an instant, Joseph was whisked from prison to being second in charge of all of Egypt – after years of languishing in slavery and prison. In an instant, David was brought from minding Dad’s sheep to being anointed king of Israel – followed by years on the run, hiding from Saul’s murderous thugs. In God, quick, easy transformations happen. Like times when you find cash while traveling to work, quick, easy transformations are part of our experience, but not the mainstay of our spiritual life.

Given the nature of our enemy, I predict that if you keep prayerfully reading for long enough, doubts will eventually ease – but only to return later. Whenever they return, it’s your cue to yet again refresh your mind with the truths expounded in these pages.

As perverse as it seems, some people would rather sentence themselves to hell than put in a little effort. I beg you not to let laziness give your enemy the upper hand and rob you of God’s best.

We need more than self-effort, of course. We need God. So why not pray to him right now?

    Lord, I look to you for the strength and determination to cling to the truth of your Word, no matter how artificial that truth feels to me in the midst of a trial or spiritual attack. Cause me to display the faith that honors you – faith that doesn’t have to be propped up by gooey feelings or special confirmation. May I not insult you by implying your Word needs confirmation in order for you to be proved trustworthy. It’s not as if you would honor your Word if it felt right to me and you would turn into a liar if something didn’t feel right to me. What matters is what you declare to be true, not how out of sync with spiritual reality my conscience is. May my faith rest not in the insecurity of fleeting feelings or heavenly signs but solely in the matchless integrity of the One who upholds the very universe and shed his blood for me. I seek your revelation about spiritual truth but I also seek the maturity to accept that if you have put a truth in black and white and signed it in your blood, then it is the ultimate in reliability. May I rise to the challenge of living according to your truth, refusing to yield to nagging feelings put there by the Deceiver, the “Accuser of the brethren.”

    Thank you that it is completely irrelevant whether or not I’m the worst and most hopeless sinner on earth or how often I’ve turned my back on you and let you down. All that matters is that Jesus died in my place, binding his destiny to mine, and simply by asking him he has united himself to me, giving me his status and purity. Thank you that regardless of what feelings I have and regardless of what I have done and how hopeless I am, because Jesus traded places with me on the cross, I am in your eyes as spotlessly perfect as Jesus.

* * *

I cannot get physically fit for you. Likewise, no matter how much I would like to do it for you, only you can get God’s truth deep into your spirit. Like getting physically fit, it takes a lot of effort and doing the same things over and over for weeks and then maintaining it for the rest of your life.

I suggest you read the following and seriously consider resolving that whenever you eat the smallest thing, you precede it by reading to yourself some or all of the following. Or maybe you could find something else you regularly do during the day and form the habit of linking that activity with reading from the list. I suggest you select those statements you feel will be most helpful, print them out and carry them with you. Memorize them if possible. When convenient, don’t just repeat them silently but say them out loud. Whenever you repeat one of them, savor it. Do your best to enjoy the truth it expresses. During your early attempts you are sure to be attacked by doubts and guilt feelings. Ignore them. Accept each statement as truth and refuse to tolerate negative thoughts about it.

    * God says in his Word that my sins are pardoned, forgiven, not remembered, wiped out, swept away, taken away, removed as far as the east is from the west (an infinite distance), trampled on (destroyed) and hurled into the depths of the sea, unable to be found, blotted out, cleansed, washed, made as white as snow.

    * Salvation is never deserved. Salvation is by faith (in Jesus’ ability to secure my forgiveness) not by works. So my salvation hinges on me choosing to believe my eternal destiny depends solely on what Jesus has done for me and not the slightest on what I have done.

    I make that choice right now. I choose to regard my works (irrespective of whether they seem good or bad) as powerless to determine my fate. I believe that Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection on my behalf – and that alone – determines my spiritual destiny. I place my faith solely in Jesus and not in my efforts. Therefore, according to the promise of Almighty God, the blood of Jesus cleanses me from all sin. The magnitude of my unworthiness and the grossness of my depravity is swallowed up by Jesus’ power to save and his worthiness.

    * I am not the person who sinned. That person died with Jesus. That person is dead – non-existent.

    * As Jesus rose from the dead, so with him I have risen to a brand new life.

    * The past has passed. In Christ I am a new person; fresh, clean and completely free from my past. The person I now am – newly created by Jesus – is spotlessly pure and innocent.

    * On the cross, Jesus traded places with me. He has taken all my blame and given me his holiness. Because Jesus swapped places with me, I am sinless in the eyes of my Judge.

    * Jesus was tortured so that everyone who accepts his sacrifice could go scot-free. He bore my punishment. I refuse to torment myself because that would be rendering his agony on my behalf a waste. I choose to delight Jesus and make his suffering for me worthwhile by enjoying his forgiveness.

    * God forgives me, so lest I imply my standards are holier than God’s, I forgive myself.

    * The Bible says I am “in Christ.” As my skin completely covers my body, so Christ’s beauty and righteousness and honor completely covers and beautifies me.

    * Jesus makes me whole. In him I am complete.

    * I delight in all that I now am in Christ Jesus. I am excited about the pure, holy and loved person that I have become because of Jesus.

    * God is glorified by forgiving me. The more unforgivable I seem the more the extravagant riches of God’s love and mercy are revealed, to the praise of this glory.

    * God is in love with me.

    * Faith means pleasing God by refusing to give up despite the devastating mountain of evidence and feelings and doubts that seem to scream that it is hopeless. To have faith is to act like the Canaanite woman who earned Jesus’ praise by refusing to give up despite everything being stacked against her and repeatedly suffering apparent rejection from Jesus and his disciples. By refusing to take ‘No’ for an answer, she not only got her miracle, she gained eternal honor. I will thrill the heart of God by acting like her. No matter how much my heart fills with doubts and fears, I will persist, for the glory of the One who loved me and gave his life for me.

I have provided these statements because reading all the relevant Scriptures every time before you eat, although the spiritual ideal, might result in severe weight loss. So I have condensed biblical truth into a few brief statements. It is important to realize, however, that these statements are not a human invention. They are summaries of the very Word of God. to help convince you of the scriptural authority behind these statements I have carefully selected dozens of the hundreds of Scriptures affirming the truth of these statements. You need to absorb the power of the Scripture, the authoritative Word of God that declares your eternal destiny. So I beg you to please study It’s True!

* * *

3. Escape the lonely dungeon of secrecy

James 1:23-24 speaks of people who by looking in the mirror of God’s Word see themselves as they really are. The moment they look away, however, they forget. An obvious solution is not to look away, but keep gazing on the image of yourself that you see in God’s Word.

Because self-image is so critical and is affected by other people’s opinion:

    Your entire life ends up limited by how you think others think about you.

Let’s refine this still further:

    How you live is limited by how you think others would think about you if they knew everything about you.

This addition is critical. It explains why many people can receive an abundance of heart-felt praise and encouragement and it doesn’t do a thing for them. Even if literally millions of people were to think the world of them, they would still feel lonely and unloved and be haunted by an abysmally low self-esteem. Praise is wasted on them because they have no idea whether anyone would praise the person they really are. They have concealed a secret precisely because they think – usually wrongly – that the truth would completely alter everyone’s view of them.

We can go one step further in our maxim about what determines our self-image and the life we end up living:

    How you live is limited by how you think others whose opinions you respect would think you are if they knew everything about you.

Some people respect their own opinions so strongly that they are little influenced by the views of others. As Christians, the opinion we most respect should be God’s. In theory, no other opinion should matter to us. In practice, it is almost impossible for us to think God thinks a certain way about us if we suspect that all of God’s earthly servants would think otherwise if they knew all there is to know about us.

Of course, even our refined maxim does not define exactly who you are, but it determines your self-image. It is what you end up genuinely believing about yourself. And it is as difficult as trying to act out of character to avoid acting in complete conformity with your self-image. The self-image God wants Christians to have – the one he has painstakingly portrayed in his Word – is a continual inspiration that fills us with zest for life. The self-image our spiritual enemies want us to have is an oppressive straightjacket.

The Twelve Steps Programs have a powerful saying:

    “You are only as sick as your secrets”

The agents of darkness lose much of their power when hidden things are brought into the light. To hide the things that haunt us, treating them as dark secrets to be kept from other Christians, is to try to fight the forces of darkness on their own turf. It is to play into their hands, foolishly putting ourselves at a dangerous and totally unnecessary disadvantage in our spiritual fight.

“ . . . in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). The cunning enemies of our soul are well aware that their chances of hoodwinking us soar if they can somehow pressure us into isolating ourselves from our greatest human sources of comfort and spiritual wisdom. Their evil strategy is to keep us from sharing with other Christians our deepest concerns because these spiritual con artists know that feedback from God’s children will bring us back to reality and help us see through the lies deceptive spirits have kept whispering in our lonely ears. The forces of evil want exclusive access to the most vulnerable area of our lives

Every street-wise city dweller knows that to walk alone in the dark is the scariest, most unwise place to be. There is security in numbers.

Beasts of prey are forever on the prowl for sheep that become separated from the flock. To try to isolate us from the counsel and comfort of every Christian on the planet is a truly devilish trick. And this is exactly what happens when we are conned into condemning ourselves to the icy loneliness of keeping an area of our life hidden from even the most trusted of our friends and the most warmly accepting, Christlike person we know. The enemy is happy for us to receive affirmation in those parts of our life in which we don’t need help, as long as we are duped into cutting ourselves off from every trace of love and support in the very area of our life that is causing us the greatest torment. Refusing to unburden ourselves to anyone Christlike makes us terrifyingly vulnerable to spiritual blackmail, demonic delusions, groundless fears, suicidal despair, and being cheated out of all the wondrous privileges that cost Christ everything to lavish upon us.

Child molesters have the condemnation of society and the full force of the law against them and yet still they turn innocent children into long-term helpless victims. It would almost seem impossible they could get away with it, and yet they do because they fill childish minds with false guilt and with despicable lies about the consequences of spilling the beans. They might say, “If you breathe a word of this, whoever hears it will know it is all your fault and that you are the most repulsively wicked person on earth. They will tell your parents who will be so angry and cry for days, wishing they had never had you and punishing you worse than you could ever imagine. Then they’ll have to tell the police, who will arrest you and keep beating you to make sure you tell them every single detail. The story will be headlines in all the newspapers and television, and everyone in the whole world will hate you. Mobs will march through streets burning photos of you and demanding you be executed. The police will throw you in jail for life and all the other prisoners will do cruel things to you because they know you are so much worse than any of them.”

Such threats are made to seem so real to little children that they dare not say a word, but in terrified silence they suffer unspeakable horrors alone, cut off from all the comfort and protection that would have been theirs.

Thus these law-breakers keep their victims suffering horrifically when in reality help is so close at hand and it is the molesters who should be guilt-ridden and terrified of being discovered. Demonic powers – the slimy agents of evil that lust after your soul and long to dominate you – use the same evil tactics, hounding you with groundless fears in the hope that you won’t breathe a word to someone who could give you the love and comfort and relief you so desperately deserve.

The spiritual lowlife arrayed against us aren’t too excited about us having good, Christian friends that we let into 99% of our life. Nevertheless, they are thrilled if there is just a small but vulnerable area of our life in which we act like loners. We give our spiritual opponents the upper hand whenever by giving in to false shame we in effect block everyone out of the very part of our life that is under spiritual attack. That way our enemies have a wounded part of us that they can cause to fester because we won’t let others touch it with the healing balm of their love and understanding and acceptance. They seek an area of your life into which they can keep pouring in false accusations unchallenged by the truth that God imparts through other Christians.

Throughout history, one of the hallmarks of genuine revivals has been the open confession of sin. What seems scary, turns out to be one of the most liberating experiences known to humanity. The ending of guilty secrets brings heaven – that joyous place of transparent honesty – to earth.

One of the most astounding tragedies is that many of those who feel the loneliest, most unloved people on the planet have wonderfully loving friends, families and marriage partners. Their lives seem flooded with love and yet to them it feels like a sham because they are living a lie. You are doomed never to know you are capable of being loved if you shrink from letting anyone know the real you. You can never feel loved while hiding in the bleak, scary, lonely hole of secrecy. Holding on to a guilty secret is the loneliest place in the universe. It is locking yourself up in a haunted dungeon filled with ghosts from the past. It is sentencing yourself to being constantly on edge, afraid of shadows.

The time will come when every secret will be exposed. Get it over with now so that you can start living. Leave it much longer and it could be too late. To freely confess will be your glory. To have it exposed against your wishes will be to your eternal shame.

You might suppose you have no need to share your secret with anyone because it is a matter between you and God. There is no question that God’s view is paramount. If, however, you are too ashamed to tell others about something God says is totally forgiven and is no longer a part of you, it would seem most peculiar. It means you are cutting yourself off from much of the comfort God wants you to have through his children. Moreover, it suggests you are struggling to believe the past has really been cancelled. If so, you would greatly benefit from the support of other Christians and from the knowledge that they accept the real you.

Furthermore, by maintaining the secret, you are keeping others from blessing. Too many of us act as if our mighty Savior is as pathetic as petty humans who can only forgive “small” sins. We reinforce this heresy when we participate in the giant cover up in which Christians dare not glorify their Savior by declaring the extent of God’s forgiveness in their our lives for fear fellow believers prove unable to believe – or at least unable to act as if they believe – that God is as forgiving as the Bible says. Open confession helps break the satanic conspiracy of silence that causes so many Christians to clam up and makes each think that they alone in their congregation have serious battles with sin. It is the breaking of this silence that helps power revivals.

Let me share something I wrote elsewhere:

    Who would have guessed that a religion stressing lofty morals would cram into its holiest book the slimy details of King “Peeping Tom” David, “lover-boy” Solomon, fish-breath Jonah, sleazy Jacob, and two-faced Judah (Genesis 38:11-26), to mention just a few of the seething swarm of con-men, backstabbers, rapists, murderers and whores that fill the Word of God?

    Few Christian biographies are as fiercely honest as Scripture. If there were more books that gently peel the plastic off famous Christians, it would be easier for us to realize that we belong in the big league. For instance, John Wesley’s godly parents had a marriage so stormy it still puts the wind up people. His own string of abortive romances continued until finally he married, at age forty-seven. “The marriage started poorly and went downhill from there,” wrote Petersen. “Perennial mutual resentment” was how another writer described the union that spluttered and flared for twenty torturous years until ending in permanent separation.

    Dwight Moody’s Christian graces have rightly been extolled, but have you heard of his temper? In public he once pushed someone with such violence that the man was sent reeling down the stairs. “This meeting is killed,” gasped a friend of Moody, “The large number who have seen the whole thing will hardly be in a condition to be influenced by anything more Mr. Moody may say tonight.”

    Martin Luther wrote things about Jews that, to say the least, are highly regrettable. And many of our early Protestant heroes in Europe, Britain and America, favored killing their theological opponents at the stake or gallows.

    It takes a special life to win the devotion of natives the way David Livingstone did. Stanley glued himself to Livingstone day and night, week after week, and the experience melted his hard journalist’s heart. Four months of intense scrutiny led him to praise Livingstone’s piety, gentleness and zeal. “I never found a fault in him,” he marveled. Yet though we could dwell long on the virtues that gilded Livingstone’s soul, slag touched the gold. It is said that throughout his life serious personality defects dogged his service.

    John Sung has been called rude, stubborn, a poor family man, and China’s greatest evangelist.

    Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision had one driving passion: “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” An experienced biographer and researcher lauded him, declaring that “few people in history” have “demonstrated greater compassion for suffering humanity than Bob Pierce.” Yet just sentences later we read that “the love that he gave so freely” to others “was given so sparingly to the ones who needed it most – his wife and his daughters.”

    If you knew C. T. Studd personally you would probably be offended by his authoritarianism, his sledge-hammer bluntness, his harsh ultimatums. Like his own mission committee, you might worry about his use of morphine and want to suppress his book Don’t Care a Damn. In common with those who knew and loved him most – even close family members – you may feel compelled to withdraw from this great missionary.

    We cannot idolize our heroes without falling into heresy, such as the satanic lie that being used by God is a reward for living an exemplary life. Service – like salvation, holiness and every other spiritual gift – is always an undeserved gift received by childlike faith (Galatians 3:2-5). God broke into the apostle Paul’s life and assigned to him his enormous ministry, not after he had proved himself, but when the man was fuming with murderous rage against Christ; while he was still – as he later confessed – the “chief” of sinners, torturing Christians in the hope of making them blaspheme (Acts 26:9-11,15-18; 22:4-8,10,14-16).Though it was years before he was released into its fullness, the timing of that original call is both illuminating and liberating. May the implications ricochet within our heads until our dying day.

    Yes, our character flaws grieve and defame the Holy One. Yes, we must move heaven and earth to root out our defects. And yes, as impossible as it sounds, God’s holy power can trickle through flawed, sin-stained channels to a thirsty world.

    God does not use synthetic saints petrified in stained glass or mummified in strained biographies. If the paper people squashed between book covers or exhibited in special Sunday services seem real to you, you’ll love the Easter Bunny. If you were thinking of cornering the market on your brand of inadequacy, forget it; heaven’s databanks bulge with the triumphs of people with quirks like yours. Heaven’s heroes are people with pimples and stringy hair; people with wrinkles and pug noses. If you’d like to see a real saint-in-training, a cheeky Master’s apprentice poised to gelignite Hell’s gates, someone on the brink of eternal acclaim, go to your mirror.

If we think confessing our sin could hinder someone’s spiritual walk, how come the Bible got is so wrong in blabbing about everyone’s sins, including sins of the people it exalts as being the most godly? Just how much wiser than God are we? Is it just a “happy” coincidence that trying to “protect” others from the truth about our sins happens to pander to our pride?

What partnership can trying to protect one’s reputation have with the Bible’s insistence that we must die to self? Do we believe that “he who humbles himself will be exalted” or did God get it wrong? Humbling ourselves by confessing our failings usually opens more doors to ministry than it closes. People will regard you as someone who can have compassion on their failings and so they will open up to you like they would never have otherwise done. Others will be inspired to believe that if you can overcome your past, so can they.

    1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (8) If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

Can we walk in the light, having fellowship with one another if we are doing our utmost to keep everyone in the dark about our past? How can we believe we are clean if we are unwilling to come clean with people? How can we glorify our Savior if we are acting as if past sins he has forgiven still have the power to ruin us? How can we help others find the forgiveness they need if we refuse to testify to what we have been forgiven of?

Feelings are of no eternal consequence. It doesn’t matter if we feel as if Jesus is powerless, but it matters much if we give in to those feelings and by clamming up act as if Jesus is powerless to save someone who seeks his forgiveness.

Stop acting like a cockroach afraid of the light. Christ went through hell so that you could bask in the light. End the misery. Crawl out of the dark, musty hole of self-imposed solitary confinement. Share your secret with someone Christlike.

The obvious obstacle to confession is that not everyone is Christlike, or even trustworthy. And anyone admitting to a problem – be in bereavement, depression, addiction, or whatever – is in the firing line for hurtful “advice” from people with more mouth than knowledge. Even if done in private, confessing to a crime could also have legal implications that you might need to think through. For example, in many parts of the world, almost anyone – in some countries certain professions are exempted – who hears of a crime is required by law to report it to authorities.

It is so important for you to break out of your self-imposed prison of secrecy, however, that I have three suggestions as to how to make it easier for you to take this courageous step to freedom.

The most important of the suggestions is that you earnestly pray about this matter – especially that the Lord stop you from saying the wrong thing and that it is not misinterpreted or reaches the wrong people.

The next suggestion is a way to get a feel for how people would respond if you were to confess to them. If you are considering confessing to a friend, tell the person, “I have heard of a game to improve friends’ understanding of each other. Could I play it with you? It simply involves dreaming up weird, largely out-of-character scenarios and taking it in turn asking how the other thinks he/she would respond to that situation. It takes us beyond what we have experienced with each other and so gives us new insights into each other’s attitudes.” Use your imagination to list every shameful and embarrassing thing you can think of. Fill in the dots below and add any other situations you can think of. If you feel the response you receive is too shallow, question your friend deeper about how he/she would react if the situation were true. Ask your friend, “How would you feel and what you do if I told you that:

    * I had lied to you all my life about . . .

    * I am addicted to . . .

    * I have told others that you . . .

    * I have secretly thought . . . about you

    * I have these spiritual doubts . . .

    * I have these daydreams and longings . . .

    * I have cheated you out of . . .”

Don’t restrict yourself to just one possibility per statement. You might like to make it even harder for your friend to guess why you are doing this by adding some scenarios that are not confession, such as, “What if in the future I . . .”

If you find your friend’s response favorable, slip in your confession, but treat it just like the others, not letting on that it is genuine. Then later decide if you can trust the person sufficiently to confess.

Another gentle, non-threatening way to break out of the prison is to e-mail me, telling me your secrets. What makes this easy is that chances are I live the opposite site of the world to you and you can remain anonymous. You don’t even have to tell me what country you live in, much less your family name. If you feel the need, you can even set up a new free e-mail account. Nevertheless, authorities have the power to trace e-mails, so you should not share anything that could get you arrested if authorities heard of it – unless you are willing to confess directly to them.

If you write, however, please be thoughtful. Many people write with deep, genuine needs. It would not be fair to them if my time were taken up by dishonest people presenting bogus needs. To abuse my offer would be a waste for all concerned, when you could be getting real help for real needs.

Vital Scriptures: It’s True!

There’s More: Understanding the Unpardonable Sin

Warning: These Pages Won’t Help Everyone

Some people terrified about being unforgivable just need Bible-based reassurance or an explanation of a disturbing Scripture. If vast amounts of rational support and biblical exposition are the answer, keep following the links. Many Christians, however, presume this is what they need but it turns out that no amount of biblical proof or sound, theological argument or even spectacular spiritual experience can put their minds to rest. If you have already sought much help but worries keep resurfacing, you most likely need a totally different approach. You should skip these pages (you can return later if you wish) and go straight to Scrupulosity.

Not to be sold. © Copyright, 2004, Grantley Morris. Not to be copied in whole or in part without citing this entire paragraph. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings by Grantley Morris available free at the following internet site Freely you have received, freely give.

Vital Help

Scripture quotations are from the New International Version © Copyright, 1978 by New York International Bible Society

[Much More!] [Daily Quotes] [My Shame]