I can’t shake my guilt for sending money to a woman who has a drug problem



I recently reviewed a helpful Q&A on your website found here: How long does it take for God to forgive? It made me want to ask about my own issue.

I've been feeling guilty for the past few months and have lost faith in myself. The guilt makes it harder for me to concentrate and make a living. I've gone to a therapist multiple times but it didn't get rid of the guilt, and this morning I remembered you and thought about writing to you. The guilt relates to me sending money to a woman who used to be a friend of mine, who I know had a drug problem in the past. I knowingly put her in danger by doing this and had resisted doing it for a long time before I actually did it. The reason I did it was to try and make her want to continue having relations with me.

My question is when is guilt like this useful, and when is it just a waste of mental energy? I’ve been reading that in Christianity, once we confess our sin we are forgiven for it. I feel though that there at least has to be some period where we are punished for what we’ve done. I don’t know how long that should be, but it seems that if we aren’t punished, then we are more likely to commit the same sin again in the future. Could it be that someone commits a sin, asks for forgiveness from Christ the next day, and is immediately forgiven and can go about his life like before? Although I’ve told myself I’d never put her at risk again, I feel like I can’t move forward with my life and work toward goals until an adequate amount of time has passed. The problem is that it's been months already, and I am worried it could be a year or more before I move on.

Please help.


In our judicial system, we insist that the judge has no connection with parties coming before him or the events under consideration. Fair judgments only come the judge is unbiased. However, consider that you are approaching your own problems with your own natural biases. You believe that what you did was wrong and deserves punishment. You make no allowance for complete mercy. Thus, since you don't see God punishing you, you have decided that you needed to punish yourself.

If I understand you correctly, you used to have sex with a woman in the past. You wanted to get back into bed with her and knowing that she needed money, you sent her money hoping she would invite you back into her life and her bed. If such is the case, then you are basically taking advantage of an impoverished woman for your own gratification (Habakkuk 2:15). You are treating her as if she was a prostitute. You are focused on your fear that she might use the money you sent her to buy drugs, but you skipping over your own direct sins.

Assuming that you are a true Christian and not a Christian in name only (see How to Become a Christian) then God requires two things from His children: repentance and confession.

Repentance is a dramatic change in both behavior and attitude toward sin (II Corinthians 7:10-11). Confession is evidence of humility and submission to God's will (I John 1:9). God doesn't dangle the hope of forgiveness in front of people. He states that He will forgive people of all sins. But you have to trust that God keeps His promises.

Sins are wrong because they generally cause harm. God's forgiveness doesn't mean you will escape the consequences of your sins. But you don't need to fear ending up in Hell because of your sin.

You can't fix the past. You can't control what this woman used the money for. If you want to help someone, then give true help that has no strings attached. "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men" (Luke 6:30-35).

What you can change are your present and future. You've learned not to give out money without thinking about the consequences. If you want to help someone, find a way to help that doesn't make it easy for the recipient to sin. To give an example, my grandfather lived during the Great Depression. He was often asked for change so the person could buy a cup of coffee. Instead of giving money, he told the person to come with him to a nearby restaurant and he would buy him lunch. He said it was telling that very few would take him up on his offer. They just wanted the money so they could get enough to buy liquor.


Dear Mr. Hamilton,

I appreciate your advice a lot.

I never had any physical relations with the woman that I spoke about, although I wanted to. I hadn't seen her in several years when I sent her the money. This is someone who I had been thinking about for years but resisted contacting for a long time. Eventually, I slipped. I know that probably doesn't change the advice much and doesn't lower my culpability, but I wanted to clarify.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.


My apology for misunderstanding your meaning, but you are correct that it doesn't change the advice much. "Relations" has such a broad meaning these days and often it is used as a euphemism for a sexual relationship.

Still, as Jesus stated, lusting for sinful sex is just as bad as actually doing it. "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28).


Thank you, Mr. Hamilton.

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