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  • Writer's pictureBeverly H.

I messed up, so now what? Working Through Shame From Premarital Sex and Moving Forward

Post Title: I messed up, so now what? Working Through Shame and Moving Forward

Shame doesn’t come from God. From the first marriage, we see God wanted us to enjoy a comfortable, naked peace with our spouses. “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25). But when we choose to do naked things our way, instead of God’s, it’s common to wrestle a heavy shame burden. If shame isn’t from God, and we feel it when we step outside of His will, then what’s up with that??

There's a lot of good stuff out there on this topic, some linked at the end of this post.

Priscilla Shirer beautifully explains God’s place relative to shame, conviction, and love in a section of her book Discerning the Voice of God. She’s a famous Christian teacher/writer who I girl crush over because she’s so spiritually motivating, yet completely relatable and cool. Instead of botching her eloquent message, I’m going to share portions of it here.

PS- I highly recommend this Bible study for any season of life. It’s a big deal. (Week 4, Day 2 of the study, snippets from pages 110-115)

Priscilla wrested with guilt for years about regrettable choices she made during college.

No matter what I accomplished in life or how far I removed myself from the choices I had made, a nagging voice in my head kept pouring on the guilt. I lost sleep, struggled to maintain health in new relationships, and felt haunted by a sense of shame.

Ever been there? Know those feelings? As I continued struggling to get free from these dead weights on my heart and mind, in my quiet time one day, I ran across a couple of verses that seemed to jump up off the page and burrow into the depths of my soul.

“Now this is what the Lord says--the one who created you, Jacob, and the one who formed you, Israel--’Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are mine,” (Isaiah 43:1)

“I sweep away your transgressions for my own sake and remember your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25).

Tears welled in my eyes as I recognized God’s personal word to me. I have redeemed you. You are Mine. I sweep away your transgressions. I remember your sins no more. Ahh! It was the voice of God telling me He had delivered me from the guilt of my past by showering me with grace and moving me toward the promise of tomorrow. That constant sense of condemnation and burdensome cloak of guilt I’d been wrestling to shrug off-- it couldn’t be coming from God since it was incongruent with His character. All the critical and ominous sentiments I’d been believing had left me devoid of grace and hope, thinking they summed up His opinion of me and His outlook for me. But, they didn’t match how He described Himself in these verses.

So if it wasn’t Him, it must have been--

Yes, after reading those verses a few more times, I began to clearly recognize the fingerprints of the enemy in what I’d been previously hearing. He’d been using my past against me--to keep me from being able to flourish, walk in abundance, and experience victory as a daughter of God. Wouldn’t that be just like him? And so unlike my Father?

Condemnation is the work of the enemy. It means to consider something worthy of punishment.

Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit. It means to bring something to light in order to correct it.

God convicts us out of love. He wants us to grow from the experience and move forward in life and a deeper relationship with Him.

Listen clearly: God does point out our sin. And that may not always sound loving to us. But He doesn’t convict of sin for the purpose of condemning us. His purpose in lovingly revealing our sin is only to lead us to acknowledge it and confess it so He can change us. The enemy’s voice brings condemnation. You will know condemnation because it’s accompanied by guilt that offers no clear means of relief. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit brings conviction that always provides a road map out and away from a specific sin. His aim is always to lovingly steer us in the direction of His grace and toward intimacy with the Father.

Next, she discusses reconciliation with God (Romans 5:10) and how Jesus died so we could be reconciled with Him.

She gives the specific example of an adultress shoved in front of Jesus by the Pharisees. They wanted to embarrass and condemn her. Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). Boom. Everyone awkwardly left, and the woman was left standing there with Jesus. Jesus hadn’t sinned, so...

This meant He was the only person qualified to condemn her. And He didn’t throw the stone.

Did you hear that? He did not throw the stone!

Hallelujah! God alone has the right to condemn us, yet He has chosen not to throw stones. Then or now. He bestows grace and love despite what we have done because His very nature is love. This is what distinguishes His voice from any other.

Whenever I feel the pain of “stones” thrown at me, I quickly realize they didn’t come from my Lord. When I have missed having my quiet time, for instance, and begin to feel guilty, I recognize this guilt isn’t the Lord scolding me into compliance. He doesn’t want me to come to Him out of guilt but out of love and affection. I know He is wooing me when I feel a compelling conviction, not a berating condemnation that tenderly urges me to respond to His love.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord,’ And Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more” (John 8:10-11)


He didn’t dismiss her sin or make excuses for it; He just didn’t condemn her for it.

This is what His voice will say to you as well. Even in pointing out your sin, He will offer grace so you can continue on in righteousness. He doesn’t bring up the past without pointing toward the future.

When God speaks to us, His words will not heap judgment on us. He reveals our sins to lead us to repentance, buffering this acknowledgement of our failure with the hope of His grace, love, and another chance. Go--and sin no more--because He has already undergone the punishment for our sin once and for all on the cross.


Be encouraged today. Be hopeful. This is what a loving Father would say to you, His beloved child.

More Christian resources that discuss sexual shame

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