John Thomas’ article on virginity and my blog post bring up a sister issue: What is the proper way for Christians to respond to this issue once it hits a relationship?
One guy I know recounted an incident where a girl he knew heard of her Christian boyfriend’s past indiscretions and completely walked away from the relationship. He argued this was wrong. My opinion: She needed to decide if she could deal with it or not. If not, walking away was the right thing to do. There’s not a biblical mandate for how to respond in these situations. God gives us a choice.
I believe Christians should always err on the side of grace and forgiveness. However, one must also take into account how someone’s past choices may affect a present relationship.
For the person who has not remained a virgin: Keep a loose hand with this issue. Don’t let another’s lack of acceptance define you. If you have repented, you are 100 percent forgiven. At the same time, don’t expect another person to automatically accept your past. (If they are going to have a difficult time getting over it, you probably don’t want to be with them anyway.) Realize that one of the natural consequences of your choices may be that some people will not be able to accept the road you have taken. When you find someone special, present your past in a humble way that acknowledges that you understand it may be a deal breaker. Then trust that God will work in both your hearts to bring His will for you about.
For the person who has remained a virgin: Flee from self-righteousness and recognize that God’s grace has sustained you. Sure, you may have taken some difficult stands for purity, but you do not know another person’s story and the factors that were at play. Realize that if you do not choose to adopt God’s gracious heart for the trespasser (which, in truth, is all of us), you may very well miss out on something incredible He has for you. Many godly people in the Bible committed serious indiscretions (David, Noah, Hosea — commanded by God). Consider the heart of the person now: Are they walking in integrity? Do they have proper accountability? Do they deal with their sin in a godly way? The answers to these questions are often much more important than the person’s past.
In response to my blog, one reader wrote: “Let me put it this way. I have been a Christian for less than a year. As such, I’m not a virgin. Am I doomed for the rest of my days to be alone, now?” I would say absolutely not. However, you may experience some consequences of past decisions. And if you encounter a woman who is unwilling to accept your past, show her the grace, humility and honor you would like to be shown. As you align yourself with Christ’s heart, you will attract the right kind of person.