I am a married man, and I feel very guilty before God because I failed Him. I committed adultery, and it caused a pregnancy; but we decided that the child would never be born.

I would like for you to tell me how I can get God’s forgiveness for having sinned, knowing the truth, and still taking the life of an innocent child. Every day my guilty conscience torments me. As a result, I am physically sick. I know that God is punishing me for having sinned like that. How can I receive healing and forgiveness?

Dear Friend,

Before answering your question, we have our own question for you. Are you continuing to be unfaithful to your wife?

You feel very guilty for having agreed with the decision to take the life of your own child, but you don’t mention specifically whether you also feel guilty for the adultery. If so, has your guilt resulted in the termination of romantic relationships with other women?

Your situation can be compared with being in a vehicle that is going the wrong way. Once the driver of the vehicle discovers that he is traveling in the wrong direction, what does he do? Does he continue in the wrong direction and tell the passengers riding with him that he is sorry? Or does he turn around and go the other way?

You know that your life has been going in the wrong direction for a while. So you must turn around and go the opposite direction if you expect God to believe that you are sorry for what you did. Changing directions and being sorry for what you have done is called repenting. God will freely forgive any sin, but the person who has committed the sin must be sorry enough to turn around and go the other direction.

Many people feel guilty and want to know the formula for clearing their consciences. They are willing to tell God that they are sorry, but they are not willing to turn around and go the opposite direction. Unless they do that, their apologies are meaningless.

Guilt and emotional distress cause chemical changes in the brain, and those changes can definitely affect your health. You don’t mention what your illness is, but it is reasonable to assume that your emotional state is raising the amount of stress hormones, such as cortisol, in your body. This does not mean that God is punishing you, but rather that your illness is a natural consequence of your own actions. And while God forgives us for our actions, He doesn’t usually take away the natural consequences that have resulted from them. However, a clean conscience before God would relieve some of the stress on your body, and your illness could improve. In any case, we suggest that you seek a diagnosis from a medical doctor.

Please read Case 387 {For broadcast version only: at conciencia.net} to find out what we suggested to another person who deeply regretted an abortion. Those suggestions might help you too.

We wish you well,