He Said-She Said: Should the Past Stay in the Past?
- Thursday, August 26, 2010
What I have shared with many young couples is, if you are meant to be married today, you are meant to be married a month, two months or a year from now. I have never met a couple who has told me, "We made a mistake; we should have gotten married sooner."
I cannot tell you when or what details of your past to reveal to your boyfriend. Nevertheless, you may consider what the reasons are why you may not want to, whether you are fully repentant for all past incidences, if you have asked God for forgiveness, whether you have forgiven yourself (or someone else) for what may have happened and the response you expect from your boyfriend.
Only through prayer and seeking the Lord you will know, from the Spirit's leading, what and when to share, and whether this is the man God has chosen for you.
SHE SAID: When you are in the initial stages of getting to know someone, what do you do? You take baby steps: exchange light pleasantries about who you are, where you're from, perhaps what you do for a living or what types of hobbies fill up your free time and so forth.
What you don't do ( and is not appropriate, in my opinion) is to hit someone you barely know with a long laundry list of your past regrets, your mistakes, your wounds from prior relationships or any other information that you would probably not post on a billboard on the street where you live (and that goes for Facebook, too—the new, sometimes annoying, virtual billboard of our time!).
When communicating with someone who you don't know very well, you are a little more guarded with what you share (well, with a curious exception being air travel as somehow that seems to help people tell you their entire life story in just short of a two-hour flight!). After all, this is someone you haven't spent a great deal of time around or haven't shared a lot of life with. In fact, you probably don't know the half of who he or she really is (yet).
It makes me think of an example of a new mother. Does she automatically, and without hesitation or background check, hand over her five-week-old baby to someone she's only just met on the street? Hey, lady! Let me hold that cute baby. Sure! Here you go. Not likely. She will wait until she's spent some time with this individual and built a bridge of trust before she walks across and hands over her precious goods.
In dating, when you reach a point in a relationship when you know that you are heading down the road to "Serious-ville" (marriage), then it is time to prepare for two becoming one. And if you are contemplating this kind of commitment, I'm of the camp that you will need to open the door to whatever you are holding close, protecting or keeping in a safe place. Your future spouse is getting ready to join his or her life to yours and vice versa, so you need to know who and what you are going to be investing your life in—in this type of a lifelong union.
Now, let's get real. Everyone is carrying something (baggage), whether they will admit it or not. Remember, we have all sinned and fallen short (lest anyone try and pull a Pharisee: "Oh, I would NEVER do that" or "I never committed THAT kind of sin."). But not everyone can handle what someone else is carrying (we all have deal-breakers, yes?). That's why the dating process is so helpful in getting to know someone and if he or she is the right one to whom you will open up your life's suitcase and show its contents.
I'm a firm believer that God knows what he's doing when he destines two people to meet and be attracted to one another and take the next step toward matrimony—no matter what either is carrying. If he has ordained it, then he is able and will work it out (Isaiah 55:8, Jeremiah 32:27, Matthew 19:26).
I love the encouraging example of Rahab (Joshua 2). What a past she had, right? But this one-time "prostitute" ended up marrying Salmon and then gave birth to Boaz who then married Ruth who then begot so-and-so and so-and-so, etc. And before you know it, the Messiah is born of this lineage (Matthew 1:5)!
Yes, Rahab made some bad choices in her life. But she turned away from her former ways, made an about-face and gave her heart to the Lord. In fact, in Hebrews 11:31, she is cited for her faith and her actions:
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
And then in James 2:25, we read:
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?
What we don't read anywhere in Scripture is this:
Rahab, because of her past mistakes and poor choices, could not be used for God's purposes. Her baggage was incredibly unsightly and heavy and always arrived ahead of her. Therefore, she was not considered worthy of being a member of the body of Christ and was restricted from all fellowship with other believers She was forced to live the rest of her life on the outskirts of town as a lonely, bitter woman.
Can you imagine if the above were truly so? What hope would any of us have in light of any of our trespasses? Praise God that he does not hold our sins against us! He has redeemed us. He transforms us and molds us and makes us into his own. Thanks be to God! (Psalms 103:10-12).
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