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How can I show mercy to a potential mate if he has an STI or even AIDS?

How can I show mercy to a potential mate if he has an STI or AIDS? I mean, I wouldn't want to marry someone with AIDS, but I don't want to be judgmental either.


I have been single for the past three years, and as I wait for my future husband, I have been intentional about the things I would like to ask and tell him. I am not a virgin, but thankfully, with the daily renewing of my mind, I have remained pure since my fall. By the grace of God, I didn’t get pregnant or contract any sexually transmitted infections.

So, I plan on asking my future husband to get tested for the most common STIs after presenting him with my “sexual health” report. I believe this is wise because although we are born again by the Spirit, the flesh may still have scars of our sin. Many born-again Christians may have an STI and don’t even know it!

God had mercy on me by not giving me any diseases. How can I show the same mercy to a potential mate if he has an STI or even AIDS? I mean, I wouldn’t want to marry someone with AIDS, but I don’t want to be judgmental either. Oh! I don’t know! Help!


The first thing that came to mind when reading your email was James’ comments about our tendency to make plans for the future. He wrote,

Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that (James 4:13-15).

Couple that with Paul’s instruction to be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:5-7).

And it’s pretty clear that our Christian faith should be lived out in a way that finds us at peace, resting in God’s sovereignty, submitting to His will.

There’s simply no way to know what relational (sexual or otherwise) baggage your future mate may bring. Given the realities of our relationally broken culture, it’s safe to say he could come to marriage with the type of scars you bear, but what you can count on is that he will be a sinner in need of salvation, no less than every other human being.

Since you can’t possibly know now the nature of those sins, far better to spend your time praying for his victory over whatever temptation he faces as well as for his spiritual maturity, character development and above all, God’s timing on bringing the two of you together.

If you read further down in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, you’ll see his suggestion for how you pray:

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:5-7).

By all means, thank God for His rescue and redemption in your heart and health. Then tell Him about your anxieties as well as your desire to be forgiving of others, the way you’ve been forgiven. Then release it to Him. Let Jesus carry these unknowns so you can get on with living His will in the knowns of today.

The second thing that came to mind is John Thomas’ column, “How can I bring up a conversation about my girlfriend’s sexual past?” I think you’ll find this helpful for any future discussions you may need to have. Your situation, however, is different because there is no guy on the scene at present. That’s why my answer is different from John’s.

Finally, just a quick thought about your equating not wanting to marry someone with AIDS with being judgmental. If you were to say “someone with AIDS can’t know Christ” or no one with AIDS will ever get into heaven, that would be judgmental. But deciding you’re not up for marrying an HIV-positive man is your prerogative. Suitors have been rejected on far lesser grounds than that (too short, too bald, too skinny, not funny, not smart, etc.).

When it comes to whom you marry, the most important thing is to seek God’s will and trust that He will give you the wisdom and grace to do it whatever it may be.

Every blessing,


Copyright 2009 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

Candice Watters

Candice Watters is the editor of, a weekly devotional blog helping believers fight the fight of faith by memorizing Scripture. She is the author of Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help it Happen. In 1998, she and her husband, Steve, founded Boundless.


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