Q. I accepted the Lord as my savior only 9 months ago. My thoughts constantly revisit the salvation He has given me for accepting Him, giving my life to him and for seeking his forgiveness of my sins.
My soul is troubled by sin that I committed a number of years ago before being saved. Through my exaggeration of the impact an incident had on my mental health, I was given a Government disability pension for life. Almost immediately, upon being ‘born again’ I felt convicted of this sin and went to the Government Office issuing the pension and told them that I didn’t deserve the pension and wanted it ceased. Departmental officers saw my attitude as an outcome of rehabilitative psychological and psychiatric treatment and said that their was no provision for its cessation unless I officially admitted that I lied to receive a benefit. By so doing this, I would be subject to criminal prosecution.
I have prayed to the Lord and asked him to take this burden from me and I had a period of peace in my heart but I am again being tormented by this and worry about my salvation and the inroad this provides to Satan and his minions. I have also prayed that the Lord will give my wife understanding of my turmoil. Although she is a Christian, she believes that I have an entitlement to the pension. I feel that other great sin in my life has been forgiven by the Lord but it is almost like I have to seek his forgiveness on this one sin, each fortnight I receive the pension. I would be grateful for your thoughts and advice on this. Needless-to-say, this sin made no impact on me when I committed it – I felt sincerely that the Government owed it to me.
A. My advice would be to ask a legal expert what your options are. Someone familiar with the law may know of a way for you to refuse future payments without risking criminal charges for the past, since at the time you applied for benefits you were convinced the government owed you the money. An expert may also know of a way for you to make restitution, if that’s what you believe the Lord is calling you to do. It’s important for you and your wife to be of one mind about this so ask the Lord to help the two of you come to a mutually acceptable resolution. In the mean time you can refuse to cash the checks you’re getting to avoid increasing the amount you feel you’ve improperly received.
Regardless of what you do, the Lord has already forgiven you for all the sins of your life, and so while it’s important for you to believe you’re doing the right thing in His sight, your salvation is not at risk.
Since your intentions are pure and you’re working to resolve the situation, the guilt you feel is from Satan, who’s trying to steal the joy of your salvation. You don’t have to accept the bad feelings he’s heaping on you. James 4:7 tells us that if we resist him he’ll flee from us. That means you can choose not to feel guilty for past sins. You’re a new creation now (2 Cor. 5:17). The old you has gone and the new you is working to make things right.