Question:

Hi! I've talked to you before about my girlfriend, how we had sex out of wedlock, and about her being of another religion. Well, we haven't done it again since I talked to you and I'm going to repent, be baptized, and change my ways for good. But the problem is my parents found out what we did, and now they will not forgive her concerning it. I can see how they would be mad at her and me because it is a big deal, but they don't like her having a kid and they don't think she looks good enough for me. Before anything ever happened they were looking at ways to break us up because they didn't think she looked good enough for me.

I know my parents love me and just don't want to see me go to hell because of what we did, but before any of this happened they didn't think she looked good enough for me. But I've seen inside her heart and I know that she's a good women. It's as if all they see is the bad stuff that she did when they see her and they keep harping on that. Yes, what we did was a big mistake on both of our parts, but I'm going to change and be saved.

I know you asked me if I loved her just because we had sex before. Well, we haven't done it in six months since I talked to you and I've sat back to examined whether or not that's why I was attached to her and loved her. I can honestly say that i love her and it's not because of that. I mean I see how much good is in her and how much she loves her child and how much she really loves and cares about me. Her child really likes me. He is starting to get close to me.

I feel like my parents are mad because I left my email open one day and they found out that we did something and they were mad that I didn't tell them. I feel it's unfair that they were even looking at my email; I mean that was between me and God because I'm 22 years old and I'm ready to change.

My parents have called her all sorts of things. Some things are true, but my dad said it in a mean way, not in a loving way, because they were mad at me and her. Her parents know and now her parents are mad at my parents and don't want her to talk to me. It's like they aren't even giving us a choice or giving her a chance to stay together. They are basically saying you can stay with her, but if you do, she can't ever see us. So what they are saying is choose them or her. I feel that it is an unfair position to put us in. We know what we did is wrong, but I'm going take actions.I mean I can still stay with her, can I not? Doesn't the Bible say to marry someone of a different religion if you love that person, but it may cause you to be unevenly yoked? If I change my ways, become saved, and don't go back to my old ways, is it not wrong of my parents to say that they will never accept her? Yes she caused me to sin that time, but it was my choice to do it and we are not doing that anymore because I know it's wrong and I don't want either of us to go to hell.

And about her kid, I know my parents think I'm not ready to deal with that, but I've been with him and her. I can honestly say I'm ready for that once I get married and her child is starting to really like me.

I think the reason my parents are really upset is more than that we did something, it is because my parents didn't think i would date someone who had a child. It's not what they wanted for me, even if she was a really good Christian women of the same church. My parents said they still wouldn't want to accept something like that, which I feel is wrong. Sometimes you just fall in love with someone. It's unexpected, but you do. It may not have been what they were expecting, but we truly love and care about each other.

I have been so upset that I haven't even really wanted to eat.I have been through so much with my girlfriend. I've helped her through so many things and she has been though so much with me. Now my parents are tearing us apart and she said it would be hard for her to stay with me because of what my parents think about her now, especially saying they won't forgive her. But she doesn't want to leave me and I don't want to leave her. We have both been crying and I just can't believe all this.

My parents are saying that even if she was to change the church she attends to the right one that they still wouldn't forget what she did and they still wouldn't want her to go out with me.

I just feel like I should be able to date her if I truly change my ways.

Is it wrong for me to date her?

Please let me know what to do. I know this is a complicated situation, but I don't feel like we should have to break up because our parents are trying to force us to choose.

I just want you to know that I truly love this girl because I have stopped doing the sinlong agoand I'm changing my ways. You were right the first time I talked to you. I think I just probably had strong feelings for her because I had sex, but now it is definitely true love. I reread your page again about love again now a half of year later and I can really say that all those things exist. We have helped each other through the hardest times, especially right nowwhen our parents are arguing about not wanting us to be together, over something that we are changing. We are always there for each other when things get rough. That is also why I'm not having sex because i know it's a sin against God. It should never have happenedbecause now I see that is bad for both of us.

My parents just see the bad that happened and the times I have been angry, but they think she has done nothing good. They have no idea what she does for me. Her and God are the only things holding me together sometimes with college. I mean she makes me laugh when I need to laugh. She makes me cry when I need to cry. She's there for me when I'm down and my parents are asking me to get rid of that. She's trying to force herself to get over me and I am too, but we don't want to. It's just our parents. My parents just don't realize what they are trying toforcing me and her to do. That's another reason now that I know it's love. Before when we almost broke up it wasn't a big deal, but now I can tell I will always love her. It's not going to go away ever, not because we had sex a half a year ago, but because I truly love her and that never goes away. I can literally look at pictures we took like at a concert or playing miniature golf and just start crying. Before it wouldn't have taken me as long to get over it. Because no matter how many days it has been, I almost start crying even when I hear her name or see a picture of us. Please help me with this.

But now everything has changed. We are not doing it anymore. The only reason my girlfriend's parents are mad is because my parents called her daughter some things that made them upset. Her parents are not mad at me or our difference in religion. My parents are just mad at everything: they don't seem to like her, disagree with her religion, don't think she looks good enough for me, don't like her because they think she caused me to sin. They are only looking at the negative aspect of we did and they are judging her out of looks. If I'm not doing it anymore how can my parents be mad at her and me? I just do not get it. Aren't we supposed to forgive and forget if we change our ways like God wants?


Answer:

I'm really sorry that you had to wait for this reply, but I was out of town for a week with only one brief access to a computer. I am glad that you have been thinking about the previous note that I wrote. I hope this note will be beneficial as well.

The complexities in your situation is coming because you are dealing with multiple issues at the same time. They are overwhelming you to the point that you're trapped in indecision. What I would like for you to do is examine each issue independently and handle each problem as a separate problem. The result will be that solving some of the problems will impact multiple issues, but by looking at them one at a time you can see the path you need to walk with greater clarity.

We need to start someplace and since you are the one writing, let's start with your personal issues. Until you get yourself on solid ground, you are going to have trouble with the other situations.

It is good to hear that you have stopped having sex with your girlfriend. It has given you a chance to think more clearly with your head instead of with what is between your legs. And I'm happy to hear that in that time you have realized that she isn't just a sex toy, but a real person whom you love for whom she is. But you have a problem. You only half repented. Paul said he "declared first to them of Damascus, at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance" (Acts 26:20). You have turned away from your fornication, but you are only talking about turning to God sometime in the future. It has been six months and I'm puzzled as to what is holding you back? It is certainly not a lack of knowledge because you have stated what you should do.

My concern is the due to the nature of sin. When a person tries to approach righteous by only removing sin from their lives, it rarely lasts. It is as if you leave a vacuum in your heart. Something has to fill that void, and far too often it is a return to sin. Jesus warned about this. "But the unclean spirit, when he is gone out of the man, passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and doesn't find it. Then he says, 'I will return into my house from which I came out,' and when he has come back, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes, and takes with himself seven other spirits more evil than he is, and they enter in and dwell there. The last state of that man becomes worse than the first" (Matthew 12:43-45). When you approach righteousness by only eliminating sin, it is like damming up a raging stream, you might be able to resist the same temptation, but Satan is going to pile more temptations on you until your dam breaks and you drown yourself in sin.

It appears that is in the process of happening. You are feeling overwhelmed by all the pressures around you -- college, family, responsibilities. You find comfort with your girlfriend. How long will it be before you stumble in some other temptation, decide to give up all attempts at righteousness, and find temporary comfort in your girlfriend's bed?

There is a reason why the Israelites were first told in the Ten Commandments to love God before commands were given to love their neighbor. You need to know where you stand with God before you can move on to conquer your other problems. Intentions aren't enough -- you have to make yourself do it. The root of all love begins with a love for God. "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. ... We love Him, because he first loved us" (I John 4:7, 19).

Since you haven't yet experienced this, it will be hard to grasp until later. You have only scratched the surface of love. You haven't yet seen the incredible depths of love, in part because you haven't accepted the love God has for you and returned His love. "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. Whoever loves the father also loves the child who is born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. His commandments are not grievous. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world: your faith" (I John 5:1-3).

So, let's put you back together first. Then we can address the other problems from a position where you know where you stand.

I think what was holding me back is that I felt like I was a hypocrite and I was embarrassed of what I did. I thought I might be baptized and mess up or something and be an embarrassment to God. But now I'm starting to see the only thing that will help me is being baptized and doing things one step at a time. By the way thanks a lot for all your help. You have no idea how much you've helped me. I think another thing is that it is hard for me to get up in front of the whole church and get baptized. I have trouble being in front of a lot of people, so I guess maybe I need to get it done with a couple of Christians outside of services or something that would be ok, wouldn't it? Thanks. I really appreciate everything and I really want to hear what you have to say about the rest also

Before I move on to the rest, think about the trap Satan has laid out for your soul. A hypocrite is a person who is putting on an act. When you think or believe one way but then act in a different way, that is hypocrisy. Yes, you messed up, but you aren't the first, nor will you be the last. "No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (I Corinthians 10:13). The whole reason for washing away your sins is to get a fresh start. "We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just like Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). The question is not how bad of a mess you made in the past, the question is are you ready and willing to dedicate your life to the service of God in the future.

And let's face reality. You're going to mess up again. Oh, you might not commit fornication, but Satan isn't going to leave you alone just because you become a Christian. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8). It is not whether you are going to sin again, but what will be your attitude toward sin. So far you have been clinging to it, not wanting to do it again, but at the same time fearful to move away from it. The difference between a child of God and a child of Satan is how they deal with sin. Even the most wicked person you can imagine will once in a while do the right thing. But he doesn't stay with the right because he isn't interested in it. A righteous person once in a while slips and sins, but he doesn't stay in the sin. He picks himself up and starts back to doing what is right. He has no interest in living in sin (I John 3:1-10).

If this situation is going to get straighten out, you need God on your side. But that means you need to get on God's side. Yet, you are hesitating because Satan has gotten you to be fearful. Are you going to let your fears keep you out of heaven? But nothing in the Bible states that you have to wait until an assembly to get baptized. Actually the Bible states the exact opposite.

"To him therefore who knows to do good, and doesn't do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).

"Now why do you wait? Arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).

"He took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes, and was immediately baptized, he and all his household" (Acts 16:33).

"Whereas you don't know what your life will be like tomorrow. For what is your life? For you are a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away" (James 4:14).

"For he says, "At an acceptable time I listened to you, in a day of salvation I helped you." Behold, now is the acceptable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2).

Don't make your Father wait any longer for His child to come home.

Now, let's tackle the problem presented by your parents. Don't forget that all I have to work with your view of what is going on. That can be inaccurate. But I think I understand a few things.

First, since you haven't obeyed the gospel call, your parents see their beloved son making a mess of his life and abandoning God. From their viewpoint you claimed to have stopped having sex with your girlfriend, and I'm sure they are inclined to believe you, but you leave them with nagging doubts. Think about it, you have told me that you intend to become a Christian, but you haven't done it. I suspect that you have told your parents all sorts of things that you intend to do, but you never followed through.

That leads to the next problem. You talk about intending to marry your girlfriend, but think about it from their viewpoint for a moment. You sinned with her (it doesn't matter who initiated it, to your parents she allowed it and perhaps encouraged it). She isn't a member of the church and your parents know that the odds are that if you did marry her she will pull you away from the church -- assuming you ever did get baptized. You see the good in your girlfriend, but all your parents have been presented with is the bad and they are afraid they are losing you completely.

In this they made a tactical error. I suspect they feel a bit desperate and are grasping for some way to talk you out of what appears to them to be a poor choice in a spouse. They can't talk about the difference in religion because you haven't committed yourself to Christ and have been following the ways of the world, so they thought they could persuade you in a worldly fashion by harping on her looks because they think that is all you are interested in. It backfired because you have grown up and are deeper than they suspect.

So, how to fix this problem? A lot depends on what your girlfriend wants to do. Words aren't going to solve the problem. It is going to take action because it was her active choices that has led to this problem.

Have you talked about religion with your girlfriend? It is past time that the two of you have a very serious discussion about this one issue. Your girlfriend has demonstrated that her view of God allows her to think she can commit fornication and still be acceptable to God. You and I know that this isn't true (Revelation 21:8 for example). So the question is whether she is willing to actually submit her life to God -- not just make a claim while doing her own thing. Is she willing to become a Christian? (And not claim to become one just to please you.)

Could you marry someone of a different religion? Yes. It is so indicated in I Corinthians 7:12-16 and I Peter 3:1-2. But I need you to put aside your feelings for just a moment or two and think about the practical ramifications of marrying someone who doesn't have the same religion.

First, where are you going to attend worship? Even the mighty king Solomon was pulled way from true worship by his wives. "But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites- from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel, "You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David" (I Kings 11:1-4). Love has a powerful effect on a person. When two Christians love each other, it will cause them to pull together toward their common goal. But when two people are going in different directions, that same love is going to pull them away from their goals. Far too often the result is that the Christian is pull away from the truth. You already have a rocky start and you're not going to get much support from either parents. Adding differences on such a basic level is going to add a great deal of stress to your marriage.

Second, the difference in religion means you are going to view basic issues of right and wrong differently. Life is filled with choices, but the two of you at the moment are using different standards regarding those choices. For example, what is her view of divorce? Does she see marriage as a permanent choice or is she willing to marry you because she knows that if it doesn't work out she can always find another man? This is just one small sample. What I would like the two of you to do is use the list of questions on the page titled "Getting to Know Each Other." It is easy to ignore or dismiss differences at the beginning, claiming you can work them out later, but the usual result is that it becomes a source of irritation and contention throughout your marriage. You don't have to agree about everything, but you do have walk into this situation with your eyes wide open. If you run into a deal breaker, you have to be serious about marriage -- you have to be bold enough to say, "This isn't going to work" and start looking for another person.

Third, differences in religion are going get critical when the two of you start having children. It is easy right now to think of her child as her child, thus she decides where they will attend worship. But what happens when you have a child with her? Too often, when parents disagree about religion, all the children see is the parents quibbling about various things regarding the other person's religion. They get bounced back and forth. When they grow up, more often than not they refuse to believe in any religion. Don't deceive yourself into thinking you will be different.

What would resolve this issue best is if she decides to become a Christian herself. Her choice will prove to your parents that she really is serious about changing her past. Forgiveness will be much easier for them.

Yes, I know I need to obey the gospel and I'm going to do it this week. Thank you for making me see clearly and that my fear of getting in front of people doesn't matter because i can do it anywhere. You let me see that not being baptized because I'm embarrased is just Satan's way of leading me away.

When I get saved, though, I want to try to stay with my girlfriend and see if things work out. I want to see if I can help her and try to bring her to Christ. Is there anything wrong with trying to do that for a while? I feel like I and my girlfriend owe each other that much.I feel I love her too much not to try to do that. I don't want to see either one of us go to hell.

I get the feeling though that my parents don't want me to stay with her toeven dothat much, which I think is wrong. I don't want to see us go to hell or her and she is in the wrong religion. When i get saved I feel it's wrong of me if I do not try and help her then. I am so close with her, staying with her because we are close I may be able to help her.Should I show her the Visualized Bible Study by Jule Miller? That cleared up everything for me and it helped this Methodist lady. Shewanted to bebaptizedafter seeing them andconverted to the real church, the church of Christ. Let me know. Thanks for all your help.

And actually in answer to another one of your questions, she doesn't think fornication is ok either. She messed up like me. She thinks it is wrong also. About the marriage issue, she believes you should never get divorced for anything other than adultery, just like me.

i just wanted to state something else real fast. The part where you wrote about how she looks. My parents were saying that because they really don't think she looks good enough for me. They said it from the day they saw her, but they don't understand that there is more to her than that. Thanks.

Yes, you should talk to your girlfriend about Christ and true Christianity. I would recommend talking about Christ even to your worse enemy. Just because you sinned together doesn't mean you can't talk to her about her soul.

Now, we need to address a difficult issue. You're growing up. It will soon be time for you to go out on your own. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). You are going to start making choices based on what you know to be right or wrong. Your parents will make their own choices. Hopefully they will coincide, but if they don't, you are responsible for your choices, not theirs.

But this also means you must own up to your choices. Let's just imagine that your parents decide to throw you out of the house and never speak to you again if you continue to see or marry this woman. That is their choice. It may be a bad choice on their part, but it is still their choice. The question is, are you willing to stand by your principles even if the worse happens?

I don't want you to dismiss your parent's views. They are older than you and they are closer to the situation than I am. Prudence demands that you consider why they oppose this young woman. Now, you might conclude that they are in the wrong in this particular instance -- and parents do make mistakes. I'm still inclined to think that the bias is deeper than not liking your girlfriend's looks -- I would sincerely hope that your parents aren't that shallow of people. But, I can't dig further into this from this remote location.

What I would recommend is continue dating this young woman (and, of course, stay away from the sex). Study with her about Christ, but also start serious discussions about marriage. However, set your marriage date for after you finish your education and you have a steady job that can support all of you. If she isn't willing to wait that long, then I would wonder if you are more in love with her than she with you.

I don't know if you will be successful wooing her to marry you or not. The time together will give you both a chance to deal with a lot of issues. Some of those might prove to be deal breakers. But if you can resolve your differences and you are in a position to take on the role of a husband and a father, then do so when the time comes. Just don't rush the matter. People make poor choices when they are in a hurry. Give yourselves at least a year. But even if for some reason it doesn't work out, it is better for that to happen while you are dating than for you to discover you don't like each other after you are married.