Because we all sin (Romans 3:22-24), relationships are difficult (1 Corinthians 7:28). But if you’ve managed to avoid the sexual sins that plague our generation only to discover your intended hasn’t, that’s especially hard. Discovering your boyfriend or girlfriend has given away something priceless, something you’ve saved, can be devastating. But it doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship has to end.
It’s not the presence of past sin that is a deal-breaker, but how it was and is being dealt with. In Psalm 25:6-8, David prayed, “Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord.”
Did your boyfriend have sex before he became a believer; or if after, has he grieved the harm of his disobedience and turned away from it? Such are the marks of the kind of repentance David modeled. Not just feeling sorry for sin, but running away from it (1 Corinthians 6:17-19, 10:12-14). And not just running away from opportunities for sexual sin, but also getting help from other, more mature believers. Neither of you should be going it alone.
Second Timothy 2:2 says, “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (emphasis added). This Scripture holds the key to freedom from past sin: flee, and seek out pastors, parents and mentors who have pure hearts and are willing to do the hard work of walking with you—both the one who sinned sexually, and the one who is hurt by the sin.
James reminds us “We all stumble in many ways” 3:2. What matters is how we deal with sin. What is his conduct now? Is it marked by the self-control that is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence in his life, or is he pressuring you to have sex? That would be a red flag worthy of ending the relationship.
If you’ve discovered past sexual sin, ask, is he/she pursuing Christ; repentant; running from past sin, including setting up safeguards for future temptation? What evidence is there of Christ’s redemption and transformation?
If you haven’t sinned in this way, it’s important to guard your heart against self-righteousness. God calls us not only to pure actions, but to a pure life that flows out of a heart rightly set on Him (Proverbs 4:23). In the end, chastity should be motivated not by what we’ll get from it, but by our love for God (John 14:15). Obedience is its own reward. And it’s the best defense against self-righteousness.
Mercifully, God’s redemptive power is strong enough to bring beauty in marriage out of the ashes of sexual brokenness on the part of one or both of you. It’s redemption is worth waiting for.