Time to Move On

Question from a Site Viewer
I have fallen away from Christ and done horrid things with and to a non-believing woman. The relationship I was in resulted in many sins, some resulting in the termination of life itself. I have been counseled to remove myself from her life completely and move on with my own life. I still pray for her, but I desperately want to see her. I want to be able to see her and I want some good to able to come of this.

Tim’s Answer
Thank you for your question. From your brief account, you remind me of a story that Jesus told in Luke 15 of the prodigal son. Your return to the Father requires you to come understanding that the life you had was not the life He wished for you. It is very difficult, once one is entangled with a relationship, to simply walk away. Your brother who is with you can see the situation much more clearly than I. He undoubtedly is looking out for your best interest in counseling you to remove yourself completely from this situation. Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 15:33 that evil companions corrupt good morals. Proverbs has much to say about intimate relationships and warns us to flee from those who may be immoral. Nevertheless, Scripture also states to the married that they should not leave their unbelieving spouses as long as their spouse is willing to live with them.

In other situations, my answer might be different. But, from what you have said, I think the time has come for you to leave your past life. It is time to move on.  You apparently were not married. Jesus sees a difference between being married and merely living together (John 4:18). Your present situation creates for you a potential season of life when the energies you poured into pursuing your own desires now can become poured into pursuing Christ. I would urge you to take a year or so and focus solely on the pursuit of God. It takes that long to change habits of sin and create new thinking patterns. If you do so, you will look back on your life and see that the effort you took to seek God was the turning point of a strong and vibrant life in Christ. Then, after that year is up, you can then begin to look around and see where and how God wants you to fit into relationships with others.

There is value when one returns to Christ to make deepening the long-estranged relationship with Christ the first priority. I know, to some, it may seem cruel to break the relationship one has with another being. But Jesus Himself made it clear that sometimes we must leave even our own families for the sake of the gospel. I do not imagine that the families much appreciated it or saw it as being the loving thing to do. Yet, in the eternal perspective, our greatest opportunity to help our families is for us to have a strong and vibrant relationship with God.

I understand that you continue to have feelings for this person. That is most understandable. But I encourage you that your feelings and desire for her will be a hindrance to your love for Christ. There are times on this earth that we must make a choice of that which we will to pursue. You have begun to come back to Christ. I encourage you to make that return your priority; to seek to reform your mind where your thoughts are drawn to Christ and Him alone. It is not that desires for human companionship are wrong; but when they trump our loyalty to Christ, they can become idols of our own making. Thus, it is wise to take the time to deepen the relationship to which you wish to give priority, and then watch over time as God works out all other matters in your life.

And the answer to your question of whether past evil can be corrected is “no” and “yes.” First, there is nothing you can do to undo what has been done. Sin has consequences and there is no penance or righteous act one can do to right a wrong. David found this out with his sin with Bathsheba, resulting in the death of her husband and the death of her child. Nothing David did could bring the child back, or Uriah.

Yet, God is able to bring good out of evil. Out of David’s sin we have Solomon, the great king, and the son whom the LORD loved (2 Samuel 12:25–the name Jedidiah means literally “beloved of the Lord”). As the prophet Joel tells us, God is able to restore the years that the locusts ate (Joel 2:25). Only He is able to take our sins, wash them, and make something good come. We, of course, cannot foresee how He may do this. That is His work.

So, I encourage you to spend a year divorced from any personal relationships, other than that of other godly people, and seek after Christ. Make this your personal honeymoon with Him. Devote yourself solely to Him. Seek Him. You will find a friend who is beyond compare, a companion for life.

May the Lord Jesus and His Spirit guide you into His truth.

a fellow pilgrim,

tim

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