Throughout my adult life, I’ve had conversations with some of my unmarried friends about the relationships that they’ve had.
And some of the mistakes they’ve made.
Granted, there are lots of types of mistakes singles and couples make- everything from slight fibs to huge indiscretions about money and parenting and every other subject imaginable. Yet some of the most shame-filled confessions made by non-married people include the physical connections they’ve made with others.
While there is a loud group of Christians who focus primarily on curing the world of sexual sins, most Christians are probably across the board when it comes to how they view sex outside of marriage. As a member of the clergy, I’m not saying that sex between two unmarried people is right or wrong, but there are times that it can be healthy and unhealthy, and each person must find what’s the most healthy expression for themselves and for those with whom they physically connect. Unfortunately, in times of desperation, grief, drunk or sadness, people make the some of the most unhealthiest decisions of their lives.
It’s human. Yet what ends up happening is they relive their mistakes in their heads over and over and over again.
What would it take to let it go? What would it take to embrace the grace that’s already there?
But the little voice keeps luring them back into the shame of their prior actions.
There’s a story in the Bible where David manages to seduce Bathsheba who then becomes pregnant from the encounter. The story ends with God “killing” their infant child as punishment for whatever happened between the two of them.
Except that it wasn’t God. It was medicine or the lack thereof rearing its ugly head at a very wrong moment.
So often, people want to associate STDs and unplanned pregnancies as God’s way of punishing humans for sexual relations. People “deserve” what they get.
That isn’t the case.
No God would punish two people for their roles in an affair or seduction or momentary lapse of judgement. No God would force someone to live a life sentence of a disease or sentence someone to death for one wrong decision. God’s grace is pouring upon each and every one of us for any type of unhealthy decision we’ve made. God’s grace is attempting to erase the shame from our lives and asking us leave it behind us.
Our job as the Church isn’t to judge what people have done or are doing. Our role is to walk with them in a spirit of grace, giving them opportunities to find new life if they feel called to it.
And helping them let it all go.
This blog post was written as part of both my weekly series “Single in the Sanctuary” and as part of November’s SynchroBlog on “Grace.” See other blog posts associated with the SynchroBlog theme here: