Dear friend: What about a sin that I can’t control?



Dear Suzie,

I know I have a weakness in my spiritual life that I have prayed about and asked forgiveness for, but I continue this bad habit.

So how do I stop myself?

I talk  when I know I  should find another way to deal with the situation. I know that Jesus forgave me for my sins on the cross, but it is so hard for me to understand how to stop, and how to forgive myself when I don’t.



Dear Janet,

I hear you. You want change, and yet you feel stuck.

Change can be costly, so when you are at a place where there is no change and you hate that sin, it’s time to ask ourselves these questions:

1. What will it cost me to receive something new?

2. What feelings do I battle as I consider letting go of the old to reach toward newness?

3. Am I willing to pay the price?

For example, perhaps I want something new in my faith life and I feel God drawing me to daily prayer.

What will that cost me?

Time. Being with God when I may not feel it. Fear that I’ll be in His presence and somehow miss it. Getting out of bed, or turning off the computer and being alone with God.

You want something new in the way you talk to people.

What will that cost?

It might be not speaking when you really want to. It might be missing out on a opportunity to prove that you are right and they are wrong. It might be frustration.

Begin to look — not at the price — but at the process.

What is God trying to give you? What is He trying to do inside of you? How is He trying to answer a prayer you might not even know how to pray?

Acknowledge the feelings that hit, but give them the proper place in your life.

Do feelings lead you, rule you, take you places you don’t want to go? Give them a name. Call them what they are. This doesn’t mean that feelings are bad, but that they don’t get to dictate to you.

You dictate to them.

Look at the cycle. 

If there is a cycle you fall into, do the opposite.

If you lash out, then listen.

If you say unkind things, then recognize the good in someone and start the conversation with that.

If you hurt with your words, begin to look for ways for your words to heal.

Will this be easy? Transformation rarely is. Are you willing to pay the price for change to take place?

Week #5 – The Mended Heart Study

Not too long ago I sat in a church service and a BIG sin was brought up. The more the teacher spoke on it, the more the crowd enthusiastically amen’d.

My heart hurt that morning, for the reality is that we all fall short. There are no big or little sins in Scripture. All those who amen’d were sitting in their own sins, recognized or not.

Jesus offers mercy to a repentant heart. Maybe you’ve fallen short, and sin has hurt your heart. Maybe it’s been a long time ago and you still carry that burden, even though you’re living close to Christ now.

Janet asked a good question today. How do I forgive myself? The reality is that we don’t.

Does that surprise you? I hope you’ll check out this blog post from earlier in the year titled “How do I forgive myself?”. Check it out here.

Q: What habit/sin do you want out of our life?

Q: What price would you have to pay to reach toward newness?

Q: What feelings get in the way? Do they dictate my actions, or do I dictate my feelings?

Q: Read 2 Corinthians 5:17. What does it mean to receive “new” from God?

How does Jesus view your sin? Why should you talk to Him about it? We’ll explore that more tomorrow.




  1. I too missed the point about forgiving myself. I need to digest this, to go over it again. i printed several copies of your I am forgiven document, posting around the house as reminders.
    thank you for your wisdom

  2. Janet Daniel says:

    This is the best teaching I have encountered sense I started reading the Bible. Thinking I always had forgive myself has always left me with a sense of needing to punish myself. I never thought that It would cost me something greater and that is God’s forgiveness which covers all sin freely. When we ask for forgiveness for ouselves and don’t feel forgiveness then we get more resentful and angry and are not able to let go of it. After my recent emotional breakdown, and making myself physically drained and wanting to give up on myself ; the next day I realized that if I don’t stop and join with God and completely turn this weakness of mine over to Him I would never find peace or happiness, I would wreck my marriage and I woukd not be there to help my daughters, or enjoy the life God has in store for me. I know that it is a process and takes my time to invest in my spiritual life to receive a new beginning. I have to be willing to let go of old feelings to reach a new healing place of forgiveness that God has for me. I am willing to pay the price for receiving His new gift to me. Forgiveness, is very hard to let go of but I know letting God handle it will bring comfort and much needed peace to me. Thank- you for your prayers and wisdom in helping me see myself through God’s eyes. I am grateful for your ministry. I’m also grateful for others sharing, it helps me see I’m not alone. May God bless you in your ministry!
    LOL Janet

  3. Thank you for this post, but particularly for the link to the other post that I had inadvertently missed. I have looked for years at self help books about forgiving yourself, but deep inside could never come to that or what I expected it to feel like. I love the part where you write that we are never instructed ANYWHERE in the Bible to do any such thing. What a huge relief. I’ve been thinking about all the boulders I’ve been trying to carry, scoot or just shove up against all morning and each one has been a joy to release. I wish I could give you the biggest hug. Thank you Suzie. Thank you so, so much.

  4. stephanie says:

    Oh how I struggle with this and I hate that I even do because I know I’m forgiven. it is so hard when the someone you hurt (who is also a believer) refuses to believe you are new and has no desire to work on the on the relationship. I have to daily remind myself God defines me and not anyone else. I have done all that I can to show my remorse and ask for reconciliation, and now it is in God’s hands.
    I’ve tried the talking and trying to convince and just like you said, its a cycle that only ends up hurting me. I also used to ask how do I forgive myself and I was told the very same thing – I don’t. This study is such a powerful help in my life right now and I thank God for using you in this mighty way. God Bless you! Please pray for my children which is why this all hurts all the more.

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