Ask Pastor Adrienne: Will God ever forgive me for cheating?

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Dear Pastor,

During the lockdown a bunch of us figured out how to cheat on our University exams. We all did it. Will God ever forgive me?

A: One of Jesus’ disciples said this: “I promise you that any of the sinful things you say or do can be forgiven, no matter how terrible those things are. But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven. That sin will be held against you forever” Mark 3:28, 29, CEV.) God forgives all things except acts of blasphemy toward the Holy Spirit. What is blasphemy? It’s the practice of using your mouth to curse God; instigating hatred of the Holy Spirit and the refusal to acknowledge salvation through Christ. It’s safe to say, you’re not in that category! The fact that you are convicted of your sin after getting involved in cheating tells me you are a perfect candidate to be washed completely clean and forgiven entirely.

The spirit behind cheating is the demon-spirit of lies. Satan is the father of lies, so when we cheat or lie, we partner with the Devil directly. Satan was able to possess Judas on the night of Christ’s betrayal, for example, because he was a thief who deceived people into believing he was one of Christ’s righteous men (John 12:6.) He wasn’t. Thieves, liars and cheaters all fall under the wicked umbrella of deception. If I cheat on an exam, to use your example, I am attempting to project the image of a good student and excellent academic. I’m manipulating false grades to advance myself a certain way. It comes from the desire to deceive and manipulate the truth into a false outcome.

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Have no fear! Jesus is very much aware that human beings are tempted to sin and they do it often. This is why Christ died; to provide for us the escape from our wicked behavior through his forgiveness. However, this gift of forgiveness is not simply doled out and applied randomly without asking. We have a vital part to play in receiving our pardon: we must confess what we’ve done (you’ve achieved this by contacting me) and repent (ask God for forgiveness), and then receive the freedom from the sin (forgive ourselves.) Most importantly, we must never do it again. Why? Because then we find ourselves in dangerous, repeated patterns of sin. Once we’ve gotten away with something, our flesh likes to do it again.

Repeated-sin becomes a habit which then becomes a lifestyle and way of life—what the Bible calls a “stronghold.” Once our sin has taken root and becomes a stronghold, we will then often need deliverance to free us of the sinful thing, deeply rooted. Christians cannot be demon possessed because they have the Holy Spirit living inside them—no demon can exist in the same space as God. However, we may, through our sinful thoughts, actions and behaviors, become a demon host. You see, sin attracts demons. They then attach to us because we’ve opened the door and invited them. Often, their oppression only comes through a special kind of prayer and counseling called “deliverance,” where the demon is removed. We close the door, so to speak, on their invitation and revoke it.

Cheating on an exam is not deliverance-level behavior unless you do it all the time. As soon as you understand the toll sin will take on your relationship with Christ; and the deep scar it leaves on your life (every sin does this, by the way), turn away from it entirely and sin no more. Jesus required this difficult task of a woman in John 8:11 who had repeatedly participated in sexual sin. She humbled herself before Christ and was forgiven. Jesus then made one important request of her: “Don’t do it again.”

My friend, you are at an age where you are deciding what kind of person you will become for the rest of your life. It doesn’t sound to me like you are the cheatin’ kind. Repent of this mistake, be washed and set free. Pass the test of honesty, integrity and good citizenship.

Do you have a question or comment for Pastor Adrienne? Send your inquiries to: info@adriennewgreene.com or write to P.O. Box 214, Harrison, OH 45030. For more information and resources, please visit www.askpastoradrienne.com or the “Ask Pastor Adrienne” YouTube channel for sermons and insights.

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