When the Past is Painful
- Kris Swiatocho and Cliff Young
- 2012 11 Oct
EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to He Said-She Said (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: I am in a relationship with a Christian girl who wants to put God first and seek His will in our relationship. However, she has a very promiscuous and abusive past, leaving her with a permanent STD. I feel like I should end the relationship, but if she is truly repentant I believe I should be able to get past her issues and love her for the person she has become. Her past grieves me...it's such a burden to me right now. Should I enjoy my time with her and let God do His work in our lives, or reluctantly part ways and search for someone else?
Through the years, we have all acquired “experiences” - some enhance and others diminish who we are, and how we are perceived by others. We can’t dwell too long on what someone else thinks nor expect them to understand what we have gone through, we can only hope other will accept our (repentant) past as that – something in our past.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past (Isaiah 43:18).
As we all grow (reluctantly) older, many of us will encounter situations we may not have anticipated nor prepared for. It sounds as if you have come upon a huge dilemma which is going on between your heart and your head. You say you “feel like I should end it” but “believe I should be able to look through all these issues.”
If you find yourself really carrying for this person but don’t feel you could ever look beyond her past, there is no reason you “should” stay together. She is probably carrying enough pain, remorse and guilt from her prior decisions, actions and abuse, she doesn’t need someone whom she cares about to have ongoing reservations about who she is or what she has done.
A broken relationship doesn’t mean either person is right, wrong, good or bad, it just means the two weren’t meant to be together at that time and place in their life.
However, if you truly believe over time you are capable of accepting this woman with her past faults and blemishes, and loving her unconditionally, then “let God do his work in your lives.” He is capable of all things, especially changing hearts.
One thing to consider is, we all have some past sin in our lives, but if we seek forgiveness from God and repent, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalms 103:12).
Successful relationships don’t just happen. They are the result of hard work, understanding, patience and commitment on both sides. As Christians especially we should be more accepting of others and love one another through their transgressions.
Allow God to show you and go with your heart.
What courage it takes to write and ask for help on this very sensitive subject. I appreciate your heart and your desire for counsel. You are right: because of the blood of Jesus Christ she has been forgiven (just like you) of her past mistakes. Unfortunately, our past sin produces consequences which can affect our lives today. In every relationship you will have deal breakers, things that can make or break a relationship. For example, will she be OK if you do not want kids? Will she join your church, your denomination? Does she get along with your family? Is she in debt up to her eyeballs? As you get closer and closer towards a serious relationship (that can lead to marriage), many more things will come up. You will have to decide for each one whether or not you can live with it. Because none of us is guaranteed a perfect relationship or marriage, anything that is great today may not be great tomorrow.
Because you have written that her past grieves you, I wonder, is it truly about the STD and her former promiscuity? Ask yourself some questions: Are you grieving her past because she is grieving, and you don’t want her to hurt? Are you grieving her past because you are fearful of it? Afraid of what other STDs she could have that she might not know about? Are you grieving her past because you are not sure how it will affect your future together? A future of having kids? A future of contacting the STD yourself? How that would affect you?
Remember, you have every right to say that something is more than you can handle. You do not have to risk getting this STD and living with its effects. But if you are falling in love with her, if she is who God has given you, then you have to love her like Christ loves you, imperfections and all. Do the research that you can on the disease. Learn of the precautions that are available to prevent further infection. Let her know what you are feeling and your fears. Be totally honest. Trust the Lord for His protection and the next steps.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is … Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is the author of three books: Singles and Relationships: A 31-Day Experiment (co-authored with Dick Purnell of Single Life Resources); From the Manger to the Cross: The Women in Jesus' Life; and the most recent, Jesus, Single Like Me with Study Questions (includes a leader's guide and conference/retreat of the same name).
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately (we think they sound eerily similar sometimes, too!).
GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to He Said-She Said (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.
Publication date: October 11, 2012