Look closely at my forehead and you’ll see a diagonal scar. It is about an inch and a half long, and I will never forget the night I acquired it. I still remember falling and bashing my head on the edge of the swimming pool. I remember my dad forcing me to lie down, knowing that blood running down my face would terrify me. I remember the slight stinging sensation as the nurse prepared my wound for stitches. I remember the large bandage that they secured to my forehead. I remember playing in my grandmother’s back yard before returning home. I remember it all vividly, as if it were yesterday.
This memory is now over 30 years old. It will be with me forever, just like the scar on my forehead. I’ll always have this scar, but it is healed now. It doesn’t hurt anymore.
Physical scars are easy to see, but many of us also have emotional scars. Maybe you still have emotional wounds—memories that still hurt and “bleed” just like any skin laceration. There’s something I’ve noticed about sexual sin—it seems to carry more shame and guilt than almost all other forms of sin.
I’m writing this post for those who have made major relationship mistakes. This especially applies sexual immorality, but can also apply to bad decisions in general. There is hope for those who are brave enough to start making better choices.
Consider this passage from the Old Testament:
Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
Nathan replied, “Yes, but the LORD has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the LORD by doing this, your child will die.”
After Nathan returned to his home, the LORD sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife. David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground. The elders of his household pleaded with him to get up and eat with them, but he refused.
-2nd Samuel 12:13-17
This passage is part of one of the Old Testament’s most famous scandals—David and Bathsheba. King David first spotted Bathsheba as she bathed on a rooftop. He inquired about her and discovered that she was a married woman. He proceeded to invite her to his home and seduce her, which resulted in a pregnancy. He eventually arranged the murder of her husband to hide his own sin.
There was only one man brave enough to confront the King—the prophet Nathan. Nathan delivered a message of both forgiveness and consequences. I hope to do the same for you.
I wish I could tell you that there are no consequences for our behaviors. This is simply not true. If you’ve given away your virginity, there’s nothing you can do to get it back. Virginity is a one-time gift, and nothing in the world can change that reality. If you’ve watched pornography, some of those images will stay in your mind for years to come. If you’ve become an unwed mother, the course of your life has been permanently altered. None of these things can be undone, just like David’s sin could not be undone.
Fortunately, there’s more to the Bible than a list of consequences. David’s life was forever changed by his sin, but David was forgiven. The Bible tells us that he repented and admitted his sins to God (see Psalm 51). If you are willing to do this, God will forgive you—just as he forgave David (see also 1st John 1:9). God will not change the past, but He certainly can change your future!
Why change? Let me give you the following reasons:
First and foremost, you can live with a clear conscience before God. When you repent of your sins, you can enjoy true intimacy with God. You no longer have to be fake or “plastic” with God. You can freely invite Him to bless every aspect of your life, knowing that nothing is hidden from Him in the first place. You can sleep peacefully at night without having your conscience bother you.
Secondly, you can live without fear of further consequences. You have two choices: 1). keep making the same mistakes and follow a downward spiral, or 2). Live in the freedom that comes with obeying God. If you choose the second, you can stop worry about the physical, emotional, and physical consequences that come with sexual immorality. Leave those fears behind, along with your past life!
Thirdly, you can demonstrate a changed character for your future spouse. As I’ve mentioned before, I believe we have to be honest about our past. It may not be easy to tell a potential spouse that you’ve given away your virginity. The shame is only multiplied if you’ve continued to repeat this same mistake in many relationships. Imagine, for example, telling someone that you made a mistake ten years ago. Now, imagine having to confess multiple sexual partners (some of which are recent). Which is more difficult? Which would you rather say? Which would you rather hear? By making better choices, you can better prepare yourself for a lifetime commitment of marriage.
Sin (especially sexual sin) has a way of wounding our soul. God will heal these wounds if you let Him. Scars will be left behind, but these scars won’t hurt anymore.
David paid a high price for his sin—his life was never the same. David learned the value of God’s forgiveness through a painful process of restoration. The Bible ultimately assessed him as a man who was “completely faithful to the Lord” (1st Kings 11:4). His mistakes, severe as they were, did not define him.
By the way, David and Bathsheba did have another son. Maybe you’ve heard of him—his name was Solomon.
Note: This post is a excerpt from my first book: Basta LoveLife, Making Wise Relationship Decisions.