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FAQ: Do I Have To Ask For Forgiveness Every Time I Slip?

Uncategorized Jul 07, 2021

I don't know about you, but when I was struggling with pornography I spent a lot of time asking God to forgive me after a slip. I felt dirty and unclean, so asking for forgiveness was my way of ensuring that God and I were on good terms again. It also gave me the feeling of a 'clean slate' so that I could start fresh again.

Was it right?

Well...that depends on a few things. There is a theological component to this question that we should address first. Some believe that you must ask for forgiveness every time you commit a sin. Or that you ask for forgiveness at the end of the day to clear any debts you may have incurred. The basic premise is that we sin regularly and it needs to be covered in forgiveness regularly to ensure our right standing with God is protected. I am personally in a different camp. I believe that God has forgiven us of our sins and that forgiveness was afforded to us even before we've asked. We are forgiven.

I'm not against asking for forgiveness at all, but I have learned to focus more of my attention on something different...

Repentance.

I believe that in a recovery context, repentance is much more important than forgiveness. To use my personal story again, when I was struggling I would always ask for forgiveness after messing up. And ironically, I would be back in the same place a couple days or weeks later asking for forgiveness all over again. Forgiveness was sort of like a bandaid for me. It covered the issue, but it wasn't curing it. Then I learned how to repent. The Greek word for repentance (metanoia) means to change your thinking or change your ways. This is a much more valuable part of the recovery process.

As you commit yourself to thinking differently and conducting yourself different, this is where true transformation takes place. Yes, you can ask for forgiveness and give yourself the assurance that you are pardoned from the sin. But if you're interested in long-term success, repentance will bear way more fruit.

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