Question:

I just had been surfing the net and came across your post an hour ago. I'm 22 year old male from a Christian family. I was well brought up, but I fell into fornication yesterday for the first time in my 22 years on earth with a Muslim friend. I immediately cried and asked God for forgiveness. I know He has forgiven me, but I can't seem to forgive myself. What do i do?

And even after God forgives me, has this stupid action reshaped or dented my destiny? I know I have a bright future.


Answer:

In this situation who was the "aggressor" in pursuing the sex? What is your relationship with this friend? What will you be doing in the future to change the situation so there won't be a repeat?

When someone says they can't forgive themselves, that is often pride speaking -- and a lack of trust in God. You should be disappointed that you gave into sin. You should have grief over the fact that you failed this time. But you can't owe a debt to yourself, thus you can't really say you need to forgive yourself. What you need is resolve to live righteously (II Corinthians 7:10-11).

I'd say I was the aggressor. It is too early to tell if she got pregnant or if I contacted an STD. It only happened 10 hours ago. She is not much of a friend, just a random Muslim girl. I never planned to have sex, but stupidly fell. But I know God has forgiven me. I just want to know if my destiny has been reshaped and can I serve God sincerely irrespective of the consequence of my action.

"When someone says they can't forgive themselves, that is often pride speaking -- and a lack of trust in God."

Can you elaborate please? Thanks!

My suspicion is that you dropped your guard against sin because you the girl as being unimportant to you since she is a Muslim and not a Christian. You didn't act with appropriate restraint because you didn't see her with respect. While you might not have intended to have sex, you did allow yourself to get involved in lewd behavior which went farther than you expected.

This is why Solomon warned: "Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?" (Proverbs 6:27). You can show a hot coal all the affection you want. You can cuddle it and dote on it and it will still burn you. Your kindness to it doesn't change its nature. How often do you hear someone say, "But I love her!" Solomon's point is that your feelings toward a girl won't change the fact that both of you have built-in desires and capabilities for sex. Trigger them and they follow the instincts built into you.

Solomon also asked, "Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?" (Proverbs 6:28). Using the same example of a hot coal, if you walk on it, it will burn you. You can apologize and say you didn't mean to step on it, but you'll still be hurt because your intentions doesn't change what it is. Thus, the excuse, "But I didn't mean for it to go this far!" becomes an empty one because your intentions doesn't change your body's drive.

That is why Solomon concludes, "So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent" (Proverbs 6:29). Though he is talking directly about adultery, the same point is true about fornication. When you start intentionally stirring up sexual feelings, you are never innocent when thing go further than you wanted. This is also why Paul said, "Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman" (I Corinthians 7:1). By that he means touching a woman in a sexual way. In other words, when you started touching her sexually, you declared your intentions to have sex with her, whether you realized it at the time or not.

To speak of forgiveness is to talk about the releasing of a debt. For example, if you borrowed money from someone and they say that you don't have to pay it back, that is forgiveness of the debt. We don't typically talk about owing ourselves money; therefore, forgiving ourselves of a debt we owed ourselves would be a bit nonsensical.

Sin is a debt. It earns the sinner the wrath of God. "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Thus only God can release us from our debt -- to forgive us of our sin. As God said, "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins" (Isaiah 43:25). Many times our sins harm another person. They can forgive the sinner of the harm that was done to them, but the debt of sin still remains between the sinner and God.

When a Christian turns back from sin, God promises forgiveness, and God always keeps His promises. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). That is what is meant by saying, "He is faithful." Whether another person forgives us of the harm we did them doesn't matter in the end, the important point is whether God forgives us of what we have done.

A person who says "I can't forgive myself" isn't stating the situation accurately. He doesn't owe a debt to himself. What he is really saying is that he feels guilty for having sinned. Guilt has a place in our lives. It reminds us that we did wrong and it proves some motivation not to repeat those sins. Yes, when you look back at your sins, you are disappointed that you did not live up to God's standards. That memory remains, reminding your that you are not perfect and that you are not earning God's forgiveness. But at the same time you can look at the fact that God does forgive sins and that you have done as God asked of you. Then true appreciation can be expressed to God.

"And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen" (I Timothy 1:12-17).

You don't owe yourself forgiveness, you need faith that God's forgiveness is sufficient.