My bad past is affecting my current relationship

Question:

Hello there,

I have something on my heart and I saw your site and decided to reach out. I was raised Catholic and in high school was allowed to choose what religion I would be and went from Catholicism to non-denominational Christian. My reasons were that I believe God loves all of his people, even if they do not acknowledge Him openly, it does not stop His love for them. And I followed my heart. I had many great friends, teachers and learned the life lessons and morals that I still enact today.

I was engaged at 20 years old. I'd saved myself for marriage and finally gave in a few months before the wedding. My fiance was also a Christian but not really practicing. After having sex, we wound up not getting married. I have struggled for so many years with guilt over this happening. I've never been promiscuous, etc.

A few years later I was engaged again and nearly the same thing happened. This time I was the one to walk away, following my heart and realizing my faith was being affected by not being equally yoked with another person of my beliefs. Fast forward through two more relationships and my wandering in and out of faith. Please don't misunderstand, I'd never lost my faith in God, just my way in life. After the close of my last relationship, I promised myself that I would wait until I was married before having sex again.

About a year ago I met a very strong Christian man, who at 30 is still a virgin. I am a bit older than he is, and we've talked openly about my past experiences and his as well. In my heart I feel he may not want to marry me because I am not a virgin because I wasn't successful saving myself the way he is. Please understand this is not something he would ever say or has said. Jesus died so that his blood would forever wash away our sins and with a truly humble heart I've asked for forgiveness and have changed my life. I just still struggle with guilt over the fact that I didn't wait. In my relationship with my boyfriend, we do kiss, hold hands and cuddle, but we try to be careful of how far anything goes because we both have that promise to ourselves and respect one another. We are fiercely attracted to each other, but in my heart my life long relationship has to be built on much more than physical attraction.

Could you help me just to understand more? This is something so heavy on my heart. I need a little guidance. I'm not sure God would ever want me to feel so much shame or guilt over my passionate nature, but more that I'm having trouble forgiving myself and moving on from this part of my past.

Thank you for any help, and God bless that you offer this portal for people like myself to reach out.


Answer:

You are making a number of decisions based on emotions and not facts; yet, emotions are unstable and often wrong (Proverbs 28:26). The facts are that you have given up fornication and are committed not to repeat your past sins. You are dating a man who knows you have sinned, but continues to stay with you. His actions show that your past doesn't matter to him.

You can't change your past, but you can make your present and future different from your past. Guilt is appropriate in reminding you not to repeat your sins, but it should not stop you from doing what is right in God's sight.

Forgiveness comes from God, not yourself. When we sin, we break God's law, so we must seek out God's forgiveness. You are not your own judge and jury. Therefore, the idea of having to forgive yourself is not biblical.

Thank you so much for the clarity you give, and doing so in a kind manner. Many blessings to you.