Question:

I am writing to seek for your advice on a situation I find myself in. I have been in a relationship for several months and shortly before we could inform our pastor of our planned wedding, we made a grievous error and fell into sexual sins. A child was conceived because of these sins. Though we are happy about having a baby soon, we admit that it was improper and have gone to our pastor to confess and we have repented of the sins before God. We have also done the same before our parents, and they have forgiven us and promised to help us plan for our wedding.

My concern is that I feel very uncomfortable with the course of action my pastor intends to take. He requires us to confess our sins again before the congregation and ask the church to forgive us after he condemns us before them. I am in a position of being a role model for young people in my community and I fellowship many of these young people. I feel this will be an embarrassment that will take long to heal; yet, we were seeking healing and deliverance from sins and guilt. I feel that knowledge of our sins will lead others into sinning by way of gossip.

Please advise us on what we should do.


Answer:

I would suggest that you find a church that actually follows the teachings of the Bible. When a person sins, Jesus taught that the person harmed is to confront him, if that doesn't turn him from his sins, then a few more talk to him -- serving both as witnesses and attempting to convince him of sin, and only if that attempt doesn't work is the matter brought before the church (Matthew 18:15-17). This doesn't apply in your situation since the conception of your child forced you to admit your sins.

What was required was confession of your sins before God. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). Those you entrust with your problems are to pray for you, help you turn from those sins, and then bury the past. "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. ... My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:16, 19-20).

There is a shame to sinning and your fellow Christians should understand it -- after all, we all sin. The goal is not to hide sins being committed, but to leave past sins behind so all can move on.

Get married as soon as you can. It doesn't have to be done in this church. All marriages are valid, even those done by secular agents. Be committed to living as a Christian ought and always remember that your life is on display. "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house" (Matthew 5:13-15).

Thanks a great deal. Thanks again for your good counsel.