Christians: Perfect? or Forgiven?

I have heard questions from several people and we even received an email from a husband who is hurt by his spouse’s sexual past. Spouses are being forgiven for their past before they were saved, but not for sexual mistakes made after they are saved. How could they do this if they are a Christian? How do you get past this? After she became a Christian, why didn’t she wait for me?

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Just for a second, let me address this first. My DH and I were talking about this before I started writing this blog entry, and he said, “Being a Christian means you are forgiven, not perfect.” He hit the nail on the head right there. Non-Christians like to nail Christians on the head right there and expect that because you call yourself a Christian, that you should do things perfectly. This assumption is not true. We are still sinners, still sin on a daily basis, but our focus from Day 1 of becoming saved is to strive to be more like Christ. Don’t believe for a second that ANYONE who is a Christian has attained that goal. The Reverend Billy Graham, Focus on the Famly’s Dr. James Dobson, our own President….all Christians, but all are not perfect and they WILL tell you that. I will tell you that as well. In my “Baptism v. Salvation” article, I asked this question …” Do you have to get your life in order before you can be saved or baptized?” and the answer was no. I know that when I got saved, I was far from being “perfect”. I had a very black past that I was very ashamed of, that embarrassed me and so I thought “How would God even stand to see my face on a daily basis? How could he love me?” He DID and he still does today. I didn’t stop those sins that I was embarrassed of right away. Twenty two months after I was saved, I met my husband….I had been tempted by other men in that time, and I personally didn’t follow through on the temptations, but I know those temptations were very strong. Someone who doesn’t recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit could very easily still fall after being saved. How did I recognize the Holy Spirit’s voice? Growing up, I was a people pleaser. Just *thinking* about doing something wrong made me feel guilty, so after I was saved by Christ, anytime I felt that guilt…and trust me it was MUCH stronger after I was saved, I knew that I should not follow through on what I was doing at that time. But some people aren’t able to recognize it right away, so the addiction to that sin is so strong, they cannot resist it.

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Satan knows us quite well and he uses that knowledge quite well. Remember in Matthew 4, after Jesus was baptized, he was led by the Spirit and spent 40 days fasting in the desert. During that time, Satan tempted Him, too! Satan came to Jesus when he was hungry and tempted Him to take matters into His own hands…” If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread!” Brothers and sisters, after your salvation, Satan will do all he can to try to make you fall as well. He’ll throw all kinds of hard fastballs at you to make you doubt yourself and your salvation, but once saved always saved. Some newbie Christians do not yet know or understand that.

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So what do you do now? You are now married to this person, you know about their sexual past (before and after salvation), so how do you forgive them? As hard as it might sound, they need your forgiveness. I know from my own experience, that I was SO glad to know that my Father in heaven and my husband forgave me for my past indiscretions. The hardest thing for me was forgiving myself. Satan used that with me. I cannot tell you how many times I cried out to God every time I would think about how I didn’t save myself for my DH and ask for forgiveness. Do you know what God said to me each time? “My child, what sin? ” He had already forgiven me, and it was in the Sea of Forgetfulness. “Neither do I condemn you; go. From now on sin no more.” (John 8: 11 Maybe you saved yourself for marriage, and the visions of what your spouse has done with other men (or women, if you are the wife) really haunts you to the point you are just tormented by it. It is so important to your marriage and your marriage bed that you ban Satan from your mind. Bind him in Jesus’s name so that your marriage can start healing. Yes, some of you don’t want to be told to pray, but that is exactly what needs to happen. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but last night, I just finished reading the book “Fireproof”. That is such a powerful novel, that I cannot WAIT to see the movie. The premise of it, if you haven’t seen it or read the book is this…. A 7 year marriage is in shambles. The couple cannot even be civil to each other and divorce is eminent… until his Dad passes on a handwritten manual called “The Love Dare”. Inside it, are things that the reader is supposed to do for 40 days, one day at a time. Sometimes there were things written in there that the DH did not want to do, but he did it anyway. When I was a refuser, there were things that I didn’t want to do, but when God gave me that manual, in order to save my marriage bed, I did them anyway. A quote from that book… “Never leave your partner”

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Dear ones, the biggest thing that you need to remember is that your spouse married YOU and wants to be with YOU. Bind Satan from your mind and your marriage bed. Love your spouse with all your heart and soul and mind as you love the Lord. Ask your spouse to forgive you for not completely forgiving him/her. The past that used to haunt me so vividly? I can’t remember it. I bound Satan from that two years ago and God has erased it from my mind. It’s gone because God forgave me. It’s gone because my husband doesn’t remind me of it. He trusts me explicitly and knows that he is the one that I want to be with, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. (I’m working on it, honey!) My sister in Christ, Peppermint Girl, also has a wonderful article on past partners here and I would recommend reading it if you haven’t already.

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Let me leave you with this.

Ephesians 5:22-33

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church- for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery-but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

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God loves all of you. May God bless your marriages and marriage beds abundantly.

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