Question: I am Catholic and confess my sins to a priest regularly. Being a Catholic is like a vicious cycle, itís like being caught in a revolving door. There is always this guilty feeling looming over me. It is awful. My biggest dilemma is converting to another religion after being a Catholic for so long. The tradition has been with me since I was born.
Answer: I know exactly what you mean by the "revolving door" syndrome. After confessing my sins to the priest, I felt good for a while, knowing that my sins were forgiven. Inevitably the good feeling evaporated in thin air as soon as I committed another sin. Since it is impractical to go to confession every day (or even several times a day!), I had to live with the burden of guilt on my shoulders. Needless to say, this guilt would not permit a close and intimate fellowship with God. Unforgiven sin often became the occasion for further sin - someone who is already dirty does not worry about keeping himself clean! Finally I would go back to a priest for confession, and the cycle is repeated over and over again.
What a difference now that Iím a Christian! I still sin sometimes (more often than I wish!), but as soon as I repent, I can turn to God in prayer and confess to Him. Fellowship is restored and I can continue in my walk with God without much delay. Unconfessed and unforgiven sins would not hinder my relationship with God for any length of time.
Also, previously I could not be sure of the love of God. How could I, since I was taught that although He forgives me, I still had to do penance to make up for the "temporal punishment" of my sin? Clearly there was still something in the way between God and me, and no matter what I did, I could never be sure that I have done enough to satisfy Him. After all most Catholics expect to go to purgatory when they die because they would not have paid enough during their lifetime.
Now it is different! God forgives me my sins because of the sacrifice of Jesus, His Son. His blood cleanses me from all sin. He receives me with open arms because of Jesus. Yes, He still disciplines me, and I feel pain and sorrow for my sins. But God now treats me as a father deals with his son. I am fully assured of His infinite love and acceptance. His love is the greatest motive to avoid sin and to live righteously.
I wish you'll experience the same liberty. You are not trading one religion for another religion! If that were the case, doubts will continue to torture your soul. You will not find forgiveness or peace by joining a Baptist church. You will find peace and life and forgiveness when you personally repent and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith. Speak to Him today, tell Him about your fears and failures, ask Him to grant you repentance to turn from your former way of life, and to give you faith to rest your salvation completely in His nail-pierced hands. This is a matter between Christ and you!
© Dr Joseph Mizzi