How do I help my friend get over his remorse that we sinned together?


Hi there,

I’m desperately seeking for help, and thank God, I’ve found your page. Hopefully you can help me out of this problem.

I’m a nonbeliever; yet, I’ve destroyed a devout Christian, my best friend. This is a long and complicated story.

I’ve known this guy for almost a year now and have fallen for him since then. He is so kind, smart, caring and perfectly matches everything I wish for a husband. However, I didn’t say a word to him, and we remained good friends until this summer. He went on a trip to visit my hometown, and during that week he realized he was attracted to me, since I have “wife qualities” that he looks for. Yet, he decided to confess his love to me and asked me to put a stop to this, since we both know that this relationship wouldn’t work out. First, I’m not a Christian, and second we are of different ethnic backgrounds. Heart brokenly, I confessed my feelings for him and agreed.

However, we couldn’t put a complete stop to the affection. It started with a kiss, and a little caress; still, we promised to returned normal after the summer. It was his first time getting that physically intimate to a girl, and we were both comfortable with that. Coming back from summer, I couldn’t keep my word, since my affection for him kept growing strongly. I decided to put a full stop to it by asking him not to see me anymore. He tried to convinced me not to, but eventually respected my decision; as complicated as it is, before I left, he asked for a kiss, and things started to mess up from then.

I was confused. He said it was only a crush, and it was over, but he kissed me. I asked him later why, and he felt very bad, saying that it was only his flesh. We fought at times and decided to be good friends again. However, we couldn’t resist the temptation. Whenever we met, we both felt sexual tension. We kissed again, thinking it was OK to just kiss. The next time we shared our past sexual experiences. He told me about his strain in controlling his flesh, and even suggested “friends with benefit” for him not to harm me. He knew that I wasn’t a virgin (I had been raped in the past), and he comforted me to get over my past. Some things happened in between, and over the next few days, he offered to give me a hand job. I asked him if he wanted me, but he refused, afraid of hurting me again. I was touched, and in return, I gave him a blow job. It was the first for both of us.

After that incident, we found it wasn't OK. We had to put some boundaries in this relationship. But again, we failed. He fell into troubles with his friends and everything, and as his closest friend, I felt the urge to comfort him. He was so upset, depressed, and I couldn’t do anything to make him feel better. Then, I kissed him and asked if it was better. He said yes, then we kissed, and he touched me. The next thing we know, we had sex.

The last week was a nightmare to both of us. He fell into a horrible depression. He was always a devout Christian and determined to save his virginity to his wife. Now he lost it for me. Worse still, he doesn’t love me. He only considers me his best female friend. He chose not to love me. He couldn’t resist his flesh, the temptation, and now he’s in a deep emotional crisis. He refused to meet me again, and asked me to leave him alone so he could forgive himself. He blamed himself so strongly, and with his characters, I know he can hardly ever forgive himself. I am upset too, seeing him buried in torments, and finding no way to help. Then I started to read the Bible, research about his religion, about sexual sins and so, and honestly, I was freaked out to realize what a great sin he made. I feel burdened for taking part in his sin, and feel as if I’m cursed to destroy him, to push him into this deep depression.

I also read about friendship between believers and nonbelievers. From what I’ve read, this friendship is not recommended, since the nonbelievers will soon lure the others to sin, which is what has happened for me. I care for him so much that I can do anything to help him relieve his atonement, even to leave him; I can’t stand seeing him suffering in guilt.

What should I do now to help him? What should he do to get over the mistake? And should I keep being his good friend after all, for his own sake?

Personally, I find the Bible fits my moral standards, and I respect Christianity, since I’ve been good friends of a lot of Christians. However, I find myself unwilling to believe in God, and not convinced by such a great invisible power. I also think it’s quite foolish if I force myself to believe just because of someone I care.

Please help me out. Any advise will be really appreciated.


There are inconsistencies in your letter which I find interesting. You say you are not convinced that God exists, but you started out your letter thanking God for finding someone to talk to about your problems. I hope you realize that I can only approach this situation from a Christian's viewpoint.

I'll accept your claim that you did not understand that having sex without being married was morally wrong. But what I cannot understand is why someone would take the risk of pregnancy with a man who has told her he would not marry her. My only conclusion is that you had some hopes of trapping him in a marriage.

The largest inconsistency is in your description of this man. First, after telling you of his interest in you, he tells you to keep this relationship from going further. That should have been a joint decision and a joint effort. A man who expects the woman to be responsible for stopping him isn't a decent man. He doesn't accept responsibility for his actions. Second, after telling you that it needs to stop, you talk about him continuing to push the relationship closer toward sex. Each time he claimed it was over, he would start it back up again. His words and his actions are not consistent.

The biggest inconsistency is the claim that he is a devout Christian who became depressed because he committed fornication, but in the middle of all this you mentioned that it was he who suggested that you be "friends with benefits" which means having sex without a commitment. It is he who sexually touched you and who accepted oral sex from you. And it was he, who despite all the protests, went ahead and had sex with you.

You say he can't forgive himself, but it is clear that this was where he was aiming to go. But the idea of "forgiving yourself for sinning" isn't a true Christian viewpoint. A Christian can be disappointed in himself, but forgiveness is sought from the one wronged. The one he let down was his future wife and his God. But he is wrapped up in himself -- something that was shown earlier when he continued pursuing a girl he said he could not marry and only wanted to be friends with. Though you were willing, from his viewpoint he used a friend for self-gratification. He ought to have been concerned with asking you for forgiveness for treating you so shamefully.

There really isn't much you can do as a non-Christian for him. He has to make up his mind if he is going to live by God's standards or not. If he wants to please God, then he has to make things right as what happened was his responsibility.

I hope that one day you realize that God really does exist and that He does care about you. The standards God lays out are not arbitrary rules, but instructions on what truly works in this world to benefit all people. And I hope you see the world clearer in the future. Don't let men use you. Find a man who respects you so much that he wouldn't think of having sex with you until you are committed to each other in marriage.

Thank you for your prompt reply.

I just want to ask you, is there any man who wouldn’t think of having sex in an intimate relationship with girls? For this guy, I found it so touching that he refused me the first time, even when I was willing, because he said he was afraid of hurting me (I was forced to have sex with my ex, and believe me, that was the most horrible experience). I felt his care for me, and that was when I accepted to be used for his strong sex drive. Is there any guy who is that decent to control himself, even with his fiancť? I don’t think so.

For me, virginity was as important as it is to Christians. I really treasured it and wanted to give it to my husband, too. But I failed. I couldn’t stop my ex after many times insisting. My last thought was that, ok, if you want my body so much that you don’t care about how I feel, then just take it, let men treat me badly. I was hurt, physically, mentally and emotionally. The biggest hole left is I feel I have betrayed my parents, who do trust me a lot. After a while, I have recovered, forgive myself for what has happened. Now for me, sex is part of relationships. As long as you are in a serious relationship with a man, having sex with him is not betraying.

To answer your question, no, I didn’t intent to trap this guy in a marriage. We are both young, and both know that we are not meant together. Even if he insists me to do so, I wouldn’t agree if that is not from love. All I wanted to do is to comfort him, but I may have chosen the wrong way to do so, now that both of us are so hurt. He kept showing the strain in his physical need that deluded me that having sex may relieve him, that is why I accepted.

I admit that I let myself down when accepting sex in both cases. Maybe I don’t respect, don’t love myself enough. But with all my experience with guys, how would I expect? If I expect guys to treasure me, to preserve sex until marriage, I will probably be disappointed again. That’s why I think let just lower the expectation for me not to be hurt again.

Yes, I also find inconsistency in this guy. I mentioned I was confused by his actions when I was determined to stop, and since my feelings for him was still so strong, I did expect him to reciprocate me some day. But then, after the first incident, I woke up the next morning and felt my heart empty. All of my affection to him was totally emptied. I guess although I try to protect him, excuse him, I was still disappointed. It always work that way, after the sex, I can’t feel anything for the guys any more. Is there something wrong with me?

And yes, I don’t understand that “friend with benefit” part either. We were kind of joking, but I know he was somehow serious. To make it worse, he said he wouldn’t mind if that was me. I was shocked, and hurt, but somehow I still find ways to forgive him. He was the one who suggested the masturbation for me, as to “let me know the experience”. He accepted oral sex. He accepted the actual sex also, nodding when I asked him the last time: Do you really want this? You will no longer be a virgin. Although I have tried to excuse him, I still can't cover his guilt. Maybe he is the sinner after all.

I’m more of a scientific person. I think it’s quite absurd to believe in an invisible force that can create and control everything. I went to a testimony ceremony with my friends, and for me, it is the belief that drives Christians toward God. Whatever happens to them, they find the influence of God, you know, people see what they want to see.

I’ve just read a few parts of the Bible, and from what I’ve learned, God, if exists, is quite selfish (no offense). For example, after finding Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit, God banished them from the Garden of Eden because He is afraid of them getting over Him: “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” (Genesis 3:23). Similar in Genesis 11, “The Tower of Babel”, when God found out about the construction, He was afraid of losing his power for men: “The people are united, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them. Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different language”. Isn’t that evidence that God always seeks for protection of His utmost authority and power, so that no man can get over Him.

Are there men who insist on marriage before sex? Yes, they are called Christians. Not the bunch that pretend to be Christians but don't listen to God, but the real ones who put God first in their lives. They know that that casual sex is wrong. "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Ephesians 5:3-5).

You did understand that sex without commitment was wrong. That your first boyfriend did not hold that standard and raped you is a tragedy. However, it did not change what was morally right. If anything, it was evidence that God's rules are correct. He was in the wrong. What I find sad is that his sin caused you to give up upholding a righteous standard. You allowed someone's cruelty to change your ideas of what is right and wrong. Perhaps you are correct that you no longer hold yourself in the respect that you should.

You should be disappointed in both men. But it doesn't mean that because you dated two far less than good men, that there aren't good men to be found. When a man becomes sexually aggressive with no thoughts of marriage, the correct thing to do is dump him -- how else are men going to learn that women are more than just bodies? Typically once sex enters a relationship, the ideas of companionship and friendship disappear. Everything centers around lust, and we as humans are so much more than mere animals.

I find the claim that science is incompatible with God funny. By training I have a bachelors in Physical and Mathematical Science and a masters in Computer Science, and I find believing in God completely logical. Belief is the conclusion that you trust to be correct based on the evidence that you have examined. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Try explaining the elaborate functioning of this world without a designer and you come to the conclusion that the odds are greater than impossible. It is people who deny the evidence of design who must rely on blinded faith. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened" (Romans 1:18-21).

You misunderstood the accounts, which is why you came to an incorrect conclusion. God gave Adam and Eve free-will. Thus when created, God gave them the opportunity to disobey Him if they so chose to do so. One tree out of thousands in the garden was forbidden them, not because it would make them greater than God -- God, after all was the creator of the tree -- but because it would lead them down the path of sin. God knows both good and evil, but always chooses the good. Man is not the same. And that is why God denied them access to the tree of life. Men slip and sin. To live eternally in that condition would be a steady destruction from what God wanted to accomplish. It was for man's sake that his time on earth is limited.

After the flood, God told Noah and his descendants to scatter around the world again (Genesis 9:1). Instead, the descendants of Noah decided to stay in Mesopotamia. "And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth"" (Genesis 11:4). The tower was to be a monument to themselves that would encourage people to stay in one spot. It was open rebellion against the command of God. "And the LORD said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them"" (Genesis 11:6). The problem with man's inventiveness is that they would invent more ways to sin and with one language and one location, those sins would spread like wildfire. God already had to destroy the world because of sin (Genesis 6:5). God's actions were to slow the spread of sin.

Thank you for your words. Iíve read it through so many times and canít help crying. You are right, every word of yours is so right. Iíve been crying for myself for letting go of myself, of my righteous standards for such cruelty. Thank you for waking me up. I will now start to live a new life with more respect to myself, and I will let no man walk into my life and leave his stain there. I will remember your words and try to keep it with me.

Your children, if any, are lucky to have such a great father. Once again, I donít know how much to say thank you enough. For now, I still canít force myself to believe in God, I need more evidence, but in respect of your religion, I thank God for creating such men like you. Youíve done a great job. I really appreciate it.

I want to know more about God, so that some day, I may find it convincing enough to trust Him. Can you provide me with some sources to clear my mind? May I ask for your permission to seek for your help in the future, when I may find it difficult in my path? Your wise words really help me out. Thank you, again.

Just one more question: Is it wrong to befriend with a person, seeing what he does is wrong (to my own righteous standards) but making no effort to stop him? By friends here, I refer to nonbelievers. As a Christian, can you just influence your Christian fellows and let go of your other friends to continue their wrongs? Should we continue to befriend with those people, in the fear that their wrongs may influence you in the future?

I'm glad to be of service. And you are always welcome to ask more questions.

In regards to God, the reliable source for learning about Him is His own book, the Bible. But at the moment you have doubts about God, so reading the Bible won't help you much other than convince you that its teachings are very wise. I don't often recommend outside material, but for the moment I would like you to start with Two Kinds of Science? from Answers in Genesis. From there poke around their site. I don't agree with some of their conclusions regarding the Scriptures, but their teachings on the role of science and the accuracy of the Bible is both good and easy to understand.

I have lots of friends who are not Christians. It is those who claim to be Christians, but who don't live the life that I have trouble with. "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler -- not even to eat with such a one" (I Corinthians 5:9-11). However, I don't allow worldly friends to influence my decisions. Nor do I spend a lot of time with worldly people. "Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits"" (I Corinthians 15:33).

But you are incorrect in assuming that I only try to influence my fellow Christians -- after all, I'm talking to you, am I not? I hold non-Christians to the same standards that I hold to myself. If I see someone doing wrong, I'll mention it, knowing that often they won't like hearing it. But if I don't say something, how is the world ever going to improve? "I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (II Timothy 4:1-2). My duty as a preacher is to guide people to righteousness -- whether a person likes hearing the message doesn't change my responsibility.