We may be punishing ourselves. We certainly feel like we deserve it! We don't just feel guilty; we feel like this last fall proves that we're rotten to the core. Our feelings of self-condemnation may go beyond guilt for the wrong behavior, convincing us of our worthlessness. It seems futile to keep trying.
The apostle Paul talked about how frustrating it can be to fall back into the very things we hate (see Romans 7). But then he concludes, "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death" (Romans 8:1-2).
Our feelings of condemnation come from ourselves and Satan, not from God. The Bible calls Satan "the accuser." Looking to a future day, it says, "It has come at last—salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth—the one who accuses them before our God day and night" (Revelation 12:10).
God will convict us of the wrong of our behavior, so we can confess it and receive cleansing forgiveness. Remember, "If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness" (1 John 1:9). Let's not give in to the condemnation. We're not hopeless and worthless! We just fell. God wants to dust us off and set us back on the path to a better life.
God never condemns those who look to him for forgiveness, even after the greatest of failures.
Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional: Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.