sad girlI’ve been struggling with a really complicated and difficult sin for almost 5 years. I’m almost 22 and I’ve been struggling with depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety since I hit puberty. Around that time I started masturbating. I didn’t know that it was wrong to God explicitly, but implicitly I knew I probably shouldn’t. So years later I confessed to my parent (who was obviously furious) and who made me promise never to do it again. A little later I entered college and my self-loathing and depression grew worse during that first semester. I regressed back to masturbating. Then one horrible night I was so sure that my masturbating was leading me to hell that I promised God that I would stop and tied my promise to the healing of my severely developmentally disabled brothers (i.e. saying something like “if I masturbate again, delay their healing”). I abstained for a long while, but one terrible night I gave in and did it again. I begged God to disregard my promise and please make my brothers whole, please heal them of their developmental disabilities, and to punish me severely instead. My brothers mean the world to me and I would do anything for them, which is why I thought using them in my previous promise would show God how serious I am about quitting. I’ve been living with the guilt of wondering whether he truly forgave me and threw my horrible “promise” out, especially since I’ve masturbated since then. I’ve now stopped masturbating but my brothers are still very developmentally disabled and now teenagers and I can’t help but think they would be healed by now if it weren’t for me.

I need help to know what to do and how to come clean to God, how to implore him to have mercy on my brothers and not let anything I’ve said or done affect them. Please, I don’t know what to do.

This is my faith hurdle. –A very concerned sister