As a born again Christian who is about to be married, I am wracked with guilt about my past indiscretions, and am worried that my mind (and God’s eyes) will be focused on my past. What can I do to prevent this?

“For freedom Christ has set us free” (Gal 5:1).  God loves us and God’s grace frees us.  That’s the foundational truth of our faith.  All else is understood in relation to that overwhelming reality: God loves us.  We can trust God to forgive us and wipe out all our past transgressions, sins, and failures (cf. Mk 2:5; Lk 7:47; Lk 15:11-32; Col 1:14; Jas 5:15; 1 Jn 1:19).  Let go of the past and let God be God in your life.  The unknown author of the 14th century spiritual classic, The Cloud of Unknowing said it best: “It is not what you are, nor what you have been, that God sees with his all merciful eyes, but what you desire to be” (chap 75).  Better than agonizing over past indiscretions, spouses might strive to see one another the way God sees us.  Practice imaging your wife or husband as the person they desire themselves to be.

Fr. Rick Malloy, S.J., is a Jesuit priest, fisherman and author.  He is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, and serves as a Chaplain at the college.  His book, A Faith That Frees: Catholic Matters for the 21st Century, (Orbis Books 2007) examines the relationships between the practices of faith and the cultural currents and changes so rapidly occurring in our ever more technologized and globalized world.