Hi.. I recently broken up with my ex. But then, he started pursuing me back again. We wanted to be better followers of Christ and wait on the Lord.. however, after not seeing each other for a month, we committed a sexual sin (we did not have sex.) How do I repent? How do I come back to the Lord? Please, I desperately wanna know.
As it’s been said, repentance is NOT a one time thing, but a thousand daily steps towards God. That will require a plan, some discipline, and a very clear expression of conviction to everyone involved. There’s no halfway about it.
Let’s assume you had a daughter, or a much younger girl at your church who needed your wisdom on this. How protective would you be? What would you suggest she do with her time, her thoughts, her prayers? How should she be meeting this ex? Would you think it was an accident that her ex pursued her and then sexual sin happened?
What would you tell her is the best course of action?
Here’s what I might tell her (or tell you).
1) Make a Battle Plan. Stick to it.
I won’t talk down to you here, but you know that sexual sin doesn’t “just happen.” It requires a whole mess of steps to get there. So you’ll need to be aware of your travels. Make deliberate steps towards being in safe places. Even if you can’t control your feelings all the time, you can control where you go. You’ll sometimes feel like you’re jumping out of a moving car, but that’s better than driving into hell.
2) Discipline. Not easy but worth it.
While you’re working on external behaviors, you’ll need to run at God with all you got. You might feel guilty about going to Him, but He’s the very one you need on this. Your sin is more reason to run to Him, not less.
Some of us believe that going to God means we get a lecture or He punishes somehow or He is barely tolerating us. That’s all endorsed by upside-down guilt-driven preaching. But God actually likes you and He’s rooting for you. When you come to Him in dust and ashes — total humility — it’s only His perfect love and grace and mercy and wisdom that rescues you out of sin, and that’s the transformation.
Sure, we’ll face consequences for our disobedience. Like a good dad, He will let you know: “Yes, you messed up this time.” He’ll also say, “Just don’t do it again next time. There is better.” God is ready to grace you at every moment, and only intimacy with Him could possibly transform us for the next time.
3) Be clear with conviction. Like loud.
Dudes are vultures that can smell decay. A horny guy will hit up vulnerabilities any way that he can; some boys treat hormones like constant green lights for their selfish desires.
Let’s even assume your ex has the best intentions. When you two are alone, things are going great, you’re snuggling close, you both have history, you’re in a vulnerable spot: What do you think will happen? Bible study? Your ex could walk in with no motives, but in the moment it all changes.
Be very, very, very clear at all times what you really want. Open your mouth and tell him, tell the next dude, tell your girlfriends, tell yourself. You want to pursue God’s wisdom because His laws are good (Romans 7:12). You want to focus on your God-given calling and NOT make some boy the center of your mind. As you said already, you want to follow Christ and wait on Him.
Be aggressive on that. It’s not a timid suggestion with small print. Otherwise that dude will always think he has an easy in-road. It’s definitely HIS fault if he’s taking advantage of you, but unless the dude is a scumbag rapist, he will stop if you want him to. If he gets “mad” or turns up the sweet talk or stops talking to you, then he’s only confirming that he’s still immature.
4) Seek good counsel.
I’m just a dude on a blog. I should not be a replacement for real counsel. Once you’re comfortable, tell someone. Your pastor, your best friend, an older person, someone trustworthy and encouraging.
It doesn’t need to be a circle of twenty people. Stay accountable on the Battle Plan, be disciplined about prayer, make convictions clear — with a real live person. It’s a different thing when you’re actually talking to someone who can respond in real time. That’s why God has set you up with specific people around you: they’re not perfect, but they’re there. Alone-time with God is absolutely essential, but we’re commanded to have community for a reason. Seek it. They will be a part of your thousand-step journey of repentance, and they’re rooting for you too.