A young adult I know has become a Christian when she was 15 years old and is now nearly 20. She lives her life in fornication with various sexual partners. She has been struggling with this sin since she was a preteen. Her excuse is that it's a struggle and that it's not like she wakes up in the morning thinking about having sex that day; it just happens. How do I get her to understand that this sin is wrong no matter what the excuse is? She claims she hates it but just can't help doing it. I really care for her soul, but I just don't know what to say to her and how to tell her that she must stop. I also have a funny feeling that she really isn't doing enough to resist the temptation, although she says is. But I know I simply can't go by my feelings. Now, she did mention that she isn't going to hell because the sex is unplanned (it just happens), and, what's so sad, she is so convinced that she isn't going to hell because it's not "purposefully" done. What advice do you have that I can pass along to her? What can she do for herself?
Thank you very much!
"A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished" (Proverbs 22:3).
Sex never "just happens." That makes it sound like it is an accident -- two people were walking down the street, they slipped and, oops, they had sex. Sex is a series of choices from the choices to touch, the choices to remove clothing, to the choice to engage in intercourse. What she is really saying is that she allows herself to get wrapped up in the emotions of the moment and lets her body control her choices instead of her mind.
You hit the core of the problem when you said that she doesn't see that this is a sin because she doesn't intend to sin. That is a false claim. She doesn't intend to sin when she starts out the day, but when she is with a guy it is her intention to sin. She's been down the path plenty of times. She knows where things are heading. She makes no effort to take a righteous path, so therefore it is her intention at that time to sin. Yet, like many sinners, she has justified her sin to herself. She thinks she has found a loophole that makes sin not a sin.
To illustrate it, lets take a different sin. Suppose a guy wakes up and is feeling really good about himself and his life. Later on in the day he meets another guy who insults him. In his anger he kills the man. Is he a murderer or not? If she says not, then you have a major problem on your hand. Here would be a sinner to doesn't care about God's laws.
Even in the Old Law, unintentional sins were still sins. "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which ought not to be done, and does any of them, if the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the LORD for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering" (Leviticus 4:2-3). A person's intentions does not make sin less sinful.
Therefore, we have to go back and look at what is happening. She doesn't consider what she is doing sinful, so therefore the claim that she hates the sin is disingenuous. She might hate being used by the boys she is after, but she doesn't truly hate the sin because it is an means to the end she is seeking.
The claim that she can't help herself is also false. "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13). A lack of resistance on her part is not the same as not having a choice in the matter. I'm sure she has will power in other areas of her life. She probably can resist junk food, resist stealing, and a variety of other things. The fact is that she does not choose to resist sex because she thinks that it will gain her something that she wants.
If you are not able to convince her that she is in sin, then you need to find a few other, older people to go with you and talk to her. If she still won't listen then the church has to take action. It may require concerted action of the group to get her to realize that it isn't just her friend's opinion that she is disagreeing with. "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector" (Matthew 18:15-17).