Overcoming Guilt From Past Sins

You’ve made a good Confession and done your penance. But those sins keep showing up in your thoughts, causing guilt and shame even after God has forgiven you. Can you relate?

A caller to Father Simon SaysTM explained that she’d recently experienced a renewal of faith, coming back to frequent Confession and prayer. But the sins she’d confessed kept creeping up in her thoughts, nagging at her and making her think that she needed to confess them again. Fr. Simon offered some advice.

He tells her that she is in company with the great saints, who also dealt with the same problem. “Saint Augustine, in his Confessions, he agonizes over a pear he stole from an orchard when he was a kid.”

“The Lord is is opening up your heart and mind to truth and you’re realizing that sin really is sinful. And this is a good thing, however, you gotta understand if you have confessed a sin, it is forgiven. It has been absolved,” said Fr. Simon.

Spiritual Warfare

The devil will attack you when you’re close to God and try to draw you away from Christ. “He doesn’t bother to attack people who he’s got in his pocket anyway, but he is gonna come after you,” explained Fr. Simon. “And the devil wants us to feel forgiven. God wants us to be forgiven. The devil wants us to feel charitable. God wants us to be charitable.”

Your response to the devil could be, “I don’t feel forgiven, but I am.”

If the devil can keep us away from Confession and convince us that we are unforgivable, unworthy of God’s mercy, he will have won. Reject overwhelming guilt and shame for things that you have been forgiven for. If God has forgiven you, you must forgive yourself.

How to Overcome

Frequent Confession is key. Remaining in a state of grace and frequenting the sacraments will help you to be spiritually prepared for any attacks the devil throws your way.

Second, recognize that if you have made a good Confession, you are forgiven. Accept that, and pray for the grace to let go of past sins. Recognizing ones’ sinfulness is a sign of spiritual growth, but constant agonizing is neither healthy nor helpful. Ask your guardian angel to purify your thoughts and memories, and ask God to help you forgive yourself.

Listen to the conversation:

For more on this topic, read about a segment from The Patrick Madrid Show on how the devil uses past sins against you.

Tune in to Father Simon SaysTM weekdays at 1-2pm CT only on Relevant Radio®.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.