In the struggle to find my identity, I danced around Satan’s raging fire. I will never be able to shake the remorse that comes from mistakes I made in my early adulthood. On a good day, I thank the Lord for His grace. On a bad day-when I am weak-I am haunted by faces and memories. I am appalled by my own behavior, actions, and choices which led to a whirlpool of darkness. It does not seem bad when we are in the midst of it all. It is thrilling and wild. The attention is flattering. But as we walk away, more empty than ever, we have a new gash in our hearts and another smudge on our reputations. Even still, some of those nightmares will resurface in the next chapter of our lives.
James was my go-to guy. I was safe with him and we always had fun. One night, I went on a double-date with another guy and remember thinking, “I wish James was here. Hey! I’ll just call him and get him to join us.” When I look back, I cringe at this disastrous approach. Nonetheless, I proceeded. The date was going so wrong and I could tell this guy was way more into me than I was him. The other three were having such a good time they decided the night must continue with a star-gaze, night-picnic. I excused myself while the planning went underway and made the call. To my delight, James would be there within the next few hours-which was how long it took him to drive to my location. My knight in shining armor! All the while, other-dude had no idea his date was about to abandon him. I have no excuses for being a coward back then. Just as our picnic began, James showed up. The dismal look on the other guy’s face still pricks my heart. But I was selfish and cowardly and I took my leave, offering a handshake of friendship to my poor date. For the oddest reason, he did in fact take me up on a friendship and became a great friend to me… for a while… before he proposed. I’ll save that story for another post.
James was just a great guy. He would do anything for me. He wasn’t a Christian, but respected my stance. He was just nice enough that I waivered a few standards. Just because a guy has the label of a “good guy” doesn’t ensure our purity. Even good guys can be selfish. Likewise, Christian girls can be as well. Including me. James randomly made an appearance in my life years later. It brought up a thousand selfish memories from our college days. A battle took place in my mind that was so strong I felt ill to my stomach. I knew I was forgiven. But the pain that washed over me from the mistakes I had made so long ago ripped through my heart and gnawed on my spirit. My mistakes consisted of passionate kisses and groping hands. That may not seem like the worst of deeds, but to me those actions were overstepping. Everyone has a different relationship tolerance. Mine was extremely low and I believed kissing that got too crazy was unhealthy behavior for me and unwholesome for the guy. Some have experienced a greater level of the affection train; that doesn’t make anyone a hopeless cause or a hard case.
Our redeemed hearts are what matter and how we take each step into purity. We’ve got to get past the idea that purity only involves sex. It’s so much deeper than an act. It begins in the heart.
We can’t waste our hearts without wasting our lives. “For as the heart is either pure or corrupt, so is the whole course of a man’s life.” (Prov. 4:23)
Though I have tasted the darker side and faced the consequences, I cannot possibly regret my decisions because they have brought me to the place I am today-fully aware of both sides of the track. It is not my desire to keep anyone from living life to the fullest. I advise against tempestuous behavior because I know the pain involved and I only wish to prevent others from facing some of the same foolish difficulties. I am sure we will all make our own risky choices, but I pray they do not involve the realm of purity. I have a greater appreciation for purity and wholesome relationships since I have experienced the opposite. And with the age-old saying (which still stands true), I wish I knew then what I know now [without having learned the hard way]. It would be great to learn the lessons without experiencing the pain of bad choices. I wish I had the appreciation for purity before I looked in the wrong places for adventure and fulfillment. I am wiser now-not because I learned the hard way-but because of what I am doing with the knowledge I have. We are all responsible for what we do with the knowledge we’ve been given.
God created us to live wild and free. We can have these qualities without stepping outside of God’s will. The world has taken the word ‘wild’ away from Christians and turned it into something bad and dark. But I will argue the fact that God Himself was wild. He did not follow religious rules and regulations or fall prey to the hypocrites. He was not susceptible to their manipulation. He did the Father’s will which allowed Him to turn water into wine, calm raging seas in the midst of their great tantrum, revive a corpse of rotting flesh to brilliant life, and give all hopeless and unworthy beings a second chance. He is wild in so many ways, but all His ways are pure and holy.
Whatever we have done, nothing is too big for God to forgive.