I am a 26-year-old divorced Christian, and recently, I found out that I am pregnant. The baby's daddy knows, and we have since become a couple. Thing is, he's not a Christian. So now I wrestle with what to do. Do I marry an unbeliever because a child needs his daddy? Do I stop having sex with him even though I'm pregnant already? Do I move in with him so we can be a family?
Since writing the original email, my situation has slightly changed. After doing a prenatal non-invasive DNA test, the father turned out to be someone else. The boyfriend I thought was the dad subsequently dumped me as he could not handle raising someone else's child regardless of his love for me. The true father and I have no intention of ever being together. He'll be a good father, and we will stay separate raising this child on a part-time, single-parent basis.
I have broken so many of God's laws that I don't know how to make anything right again. My parents are understandably shocked and disappointed, but they live out of the country and are unable to fully help. I haven't really told anyone because of the stigma of being an "unwed mother." I guess the main question I have is how should the church respond? Is it biblical to ask that I step away from any volunteer role? Should I be in the church but not of it? I have never felt closer to God as I do now. Humans however are a little more unpredictable. If you were in my situation, what advice would you give yourself?
Please pray for this child and its father. I know that God has continually been softening his heart toward this situation, and we have once again become "friends." Pray that I will keep my emotions in check and continue to see him as God sees him, and love and respect him as God does. Pray that this little miracle child will be the one to show him the way to God's truth. Miracles do and will happen for this mixed-up, broken family, of this I am confident. Pray that I don't lose heart and will continue to run this race with integrity.
Thank you for writing and asking for help in this time of great need. I have prayed often for you since reading your email, wanting to encourage you in your faith and honor you for choosing life for your baby, as well as challenge you to think biblically about the grave situation you are in.
In your correspondence, you've asked three essential questions: 1) Having broken so many of God's laws, how do you make things right again? 2) How should the church respond to you? And 3) if I were in your situation, what advice would I give myself? How you answer these questions will affect the many other decisions you must make.
The short answer to your first question is, you can't. There's nothing you can do to make things right with God. He is infinitely holy. And we are infinitely sinful. Even if you'd only broken one of God's commands, you'd still be guilty of breaking the whole law. That's the bad news of your sin.
But the badness of your sin (and mine and everyone's) is what makes the good news of Jesus' death for sinners so good. This is what the Bible calls the Gospel. God created us and as our Maker, He has rightful authority over us. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God's command, their sin plunged all humans into sin. Left to ourselves, we can't make things right again. But God, being rich in mercy, sent His Son, Jesus, who is both fully God and fully man, to live life on earth in perfect obedience to His Father. Yet He was crucified on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Jesus died to satisfy God's righteous wrath against us — His creation. But He didn't stay dead. After three days, Jesus rose from the dead and is living even now. He calls us to repent for our sins and be baptized, to turn from them and to trust in Him for our salvation. He is our Savior. Only Christ can make us right with the Father.
Have you believed this Gospel? Are you born again? If you aren't, trust Christ for your redemption. Today is the day of salvation. If you are, but you have fallen into willful sin, repent and turn. God is able to restore you.
No sins are beyond God's ability to forgive, but often natural consequences of sin remain. The complication with sexual sin, as you well know, is that often it leads to the conception of a new life. That new person is no accident, nor is a baby a "consequence," — new life is a gift from God and always a miracle. But the miracle of a new life does not undo your disobedience and rebellion against God's plan for sex. If you repent, God will forgive you. In His forgiveness, there is great freedom! But the challenges of bringing a child into the world under such difficult circumstances remain, and remain to be faced with courage. If your life is hidden with Christ in God, you won't face them alone. That's more good news. When you are born again, you have the Holy Spirit living in you, and He helps believers become more like Christ. The way we face our daily ups and downs shapes our Christian character. It is to the praise of God's great glory that He can turn hardships into good.
The other way God shapes us is through the body of Christ — the church. This is why it's essential that you find a biblical, Gospel-centered church that submits to the authority of Scripture. This is the most important practical advice I can give you — and the advice I would give myself. It may be that you already have a church like that. I pray that's so. If they are such a body, then according to Scripture, they will have a role to play in calling you to holiness, walking with you in forgiveness, and holding you accountable in your actions as they restore you to fellowship. You asked if it's right that your church asked you to step down from ministry roles. It's not only appropriate that a church would require a member in your situation (persisting in sexual sin and carrying an illegitimate child) to step down from positions of leadership in ministry, it's biblically required.
You ask if it would be OK to continue having sex with a man not your husband because you're already pregnant. Now that you know that man is not the father of your baby and now that he has "dumped you" this is, in a very practical way, no longer an issue. But in a spiritual way, it's still a question worth answering. Scripture is clear that the only relationship authorized by God for sexual intercourse is marriage. Getting pregnant is a natural result of sex, but pregnancy does not make a marriage, and being pregnant is no reason to go on sinning sexually. If anything, the presence of a baby should make you want to flee sexual immorality, to repent and to turn toward God before it's too late, not just for the sake of your own soul, but for the soul of the little one you're carrying inside you.
I write all this not to condemn you but to call you to repentance. There was great judgment upon Israel for their rebellion, idolatry and persistent sin. Whenever we're tempted to think our sin is not that bad, we need only look at the torture and murder Christ suffered to be reminded that such is what it took to satisfy God's wrath. If the perfect Son of God had to die on a cross for us to be made right again with God, the only conclusion that makes sense is, yes, our sin really is that bad. And to persist in it, to go on sleeping with a man not your husband (or to think that doing so may be OK) because you're already pregnant, is not only not OK, it may be evidence that you're not a Christian as the Bible defines it. Countless Americans use the label Christian to describe themselves without knowing about God's holy character, His righteous wrath or His plan for salvation. We are not Christians because we say we are, or even when we feel love for God, but when we believe God's Word.
This unexpected pregnancy may yet be a great mercy if you let it remind you of your need for a Savior and point you to Christ. May God use this little one to lead you to Him, the Holy One who dwells in unapproachable light, in fear and humility, and repentance and faith.
You say you have no intention of ever being together with the baby's biological father, but that "he'll be a good father, and we will stay separate raising this child on a part-time, single-parent basis." Biblically, a good father is a man who is married to the mother of his children; who leads his family in love, serving sacrificially; providing for their physical and spiritual needs; who loves the Lord with his whole heart; and who trains his children, bringing them up "in the fear and admonition of the Lord." All of this is by God's design. There is a normative, God-given design for bringing babies into the world. And when we obey His design, children thrive. From what you've said, this man cannot do these things. He does not claim Christ as His savior and Lord; he has sinned sexually with you, and he has no intention of marrying you. He has not given you reason to believe that he will be a good father to your baby. Quite the opposite.
In the end, you must obey God, not man. There is great reward, joy and life to be had in the path of obedience. I pray God will equip you to choose the path of wisdom and life. You asked me to pray that you will "continue to run this race with integrity." The Scriptures charge us to run with perseverance. And so I pray for you Hebrews 12:1-13:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
I am praying for you in the Name of Jesus, the only One Who saves.
Copyright 2013 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.