Question:

Hi ,

I started a relationship with a man about a month ago. One thing led to another and we had sex. I felt bad about it and asked for God's forgiveness, but didn't break it off with him.

A few days ago I got a call from my pastor stating someone was at a party with this man and he over heard him saying he had sex with me (and other stuff which were a stretch of the truth). My pastor asked me if this was true but out of shame I lied and said no. I have prayed to God and asked for His forgiveness for both lying to the pastor and for committing fornication.

Should I confess to the pastor that I lied to him? I feel guilty about lying, but I also think the pastor asking me to confess was a bit harsh. I didn't get time to even digest the news and feel he did step over his boundaries.

Please advise. Thank you.


Answer:

"But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).

You need to accept the fact that you are responsible for your sins. Your preacher was doing what any Christian is supposed to do: try to get you out of sin. "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:1-2). Blaming him for doing right because you are embarrassed about doing wrong is childish and prideful. I notice that you didn't claim that the other stuff was incorrect. That there is some truth in what he heard

Lying is never acceptable. Since you lied to the preacher and he may wrongly defend you to others, you need to tell him the truth. "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). I notice that you didn't claim that the other stuff was incorrect. That there is some truth in what he heard needs to be also discussed.

Satan has gotten you to sin repeatedly. You need help. Blaming those trying to rescue you is doing yourself any favors.

Thank you very much for your advise. I however am not blaming anyone for my sins. I do take full responsibility since the act of fornication was a sin to me and God.

I believe as preachers you have to use discretion and wisdom when dealing with members of the church. Demanding for the truth was in no way helping me out. Shouldn't people be given the chance to repent their sins in private and if need be confess to one another so we can pray together? I lied not out of pride or being childish but because I was caught off guard. I am truly sorry I lied to him and will continue to ask God for his forgiveness. I pray that the Lord will give me confidence and conviction, if I need to speak with the pastor down the road. This was a sin in my past (which I'm not proud of) and which I already prayed to God forgiveness. Why do I have to confess to man too? I again I'm not blaming anyone, but his approach made me lie. Isn't this similar to Peter and the little girl? Didn't God still forgive him?

I do not believe preachers are to exercise their powers via intimidation and demand confessions. This, in my opinion, is bullying. A good approach would be for the pastor counselling me and advising if this was true that I should refrain from it, rather than demanding I tell him the truth. My sin didn't harm anyone but me!

And how is the preacher to know that this was in the past? First, you said you committed fornication less than a month earlier. The preacher heard mention of it just recently. Until it was told to him, he would not have guessed that you had sin. Now that he did know, he had no way of knowing if it had stopped.

He does have the responsibility to ask: First, to try to get you out of sin if it is continuing. Second, if you refused to stop the sin, to ask the church to withdraw from you.

"I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -- not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person"" (I Corinthians 5:9-13).

Notice that fornication is not a private sin that doesn't harm anyone else. The reason it must be taken care of is because sin spreads. "Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?" (I Corinthians 5:6). Besides, it stopped being a private sin when the guy you had sex with started bragging about it. The preacher did not make this public, the guy you had sex with did that. The preacher is correctly trying to fix the problem.

But rather than owning up to the truth of the matter, you tried to hide the fact that you sinned with further sins -- you lied when asked. I don't care what your excuse is for the lying, it remains just as much a sin as the fornication itself. No one made you lie. You chose to do that of your own free will. If you are sorry for lying and you truly have an humble attitude about yourself, then go to him and tell him the truth. Until such time, your actions speak louder than your words. Peter admitted he lied. You haven't.

Your sin harmed yourself and everyone who heard of it, who now think that Christians are allowed to commit fornication. You smeared the reputation of your fellow Christians in your area and the name of Christ who had died to free you from sin. On top of that, by lying, you are saying that the man who had sex with you lied about doing it. You also said that those who warned the preacher also were fooled (when they were not). Your sin has had widespread impact on a number of people and all because you have too much pride to admit you sinned.