Guilt is a crushing force. And guilt that comes from sexual impurity presses the heart in its tenderest places. It hurts to know you’ve sinned against God, your parents, your partner, yourself, and your future spouse—someone you might not even know yet. You’ve given away something you can never get back. The pain hangs like a stone in your soul.
You can’t carry that weight.
And you don’t have to.
A story in Luke 7:36-50 illustrates one woman’s journey from pain to peace. We don’t know for sure that the guilt she bore resulted from sexual impurity, but Bible scholars say it’s a good bet. She might have even been a prostitute—someone whose very life revolved around immorality. Whatever she’d done, it was enough to make her too dirty for a Pharisee to touch, and too needy for Jesus to ignore.
In the story, Jesus is eating dinner at the home of a Pharisee named Simon when a sinful woman bursts into the room. Much to Simon’s horror, the weeping woman proceeds to wash Jesus’ feet with her hair and her tears. She even rinses his feet with expensive perfume, spilling enough fragrance to fill the room.
By washing Jesus’ feet with her tears, this woman took two crucial steps toward wholeness. First, she wept for her sins, shuddering under their weight. Her tears were her confession. It was as though she was telling Jesus, “I’ve done wrong. I’ve caused pain. And I need to tell you it’s breaking my heart.”
Second, by kneeling at Jesus’ feet, this woman acknowledged that her true purpose in life was to serve him. Foot-washing was a task usually reserved for servants. Her act was like a proclamation to Simon and everyone else: “In the past, I was a slave to my sinful passions. I now submit myself to the service of Jesus Christ.”
Like the alabaster jar of perfume in her hand, this woman broke herself open and poured herself out at Jesus’ feet. It wasn’t easy. It dredged up old pain and made public her shame. But it was worth every agonizing second when she heard Jesus say, “Your sins are forgiven. … Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:48, 50).
Peace. Just what the woman longed for. Just what you might be longing for as you carry the guilt of your own sexual impurity.
You can find peace by confessing your sins to Jesus and submitting yourself to his service. He alone can make you whole and give you a fresh start. He’ll lift the guilt from your heart and cover you with his mercy. You can be forgiven, too.