We all have junk. We all have pasts. And we all need a reminder that it is OKAY to forgive yourself the way God has already forgiven you.
I wanted to write this article on another one of those gray areas in Christianity that seems totally "off limits."
Sexual Sin. Yupp, I said it. You might or might not have experienced sexual sin in your life at one point, but I can say that if you have, I am glad you are reading this. Mostly because I wish someone would have told me what I am about to tell you guys when I was struggling with all the shame that comes with sexual sin.
Growing up, I hung around people that never really saw sex as something "special". There were never any rules about sex. Although my mom raised me to believe that sex is supposed to be saved for marriage, everyone else made it seem as if there was no harm in it. It seemed like it was just something you did when you were "in love" with your boyfriend/girlfriend. So I figured why not give it a go?
Eventually I figured out why not.
If you have heard my story, you know that I've had my fair share of bad relationships. One in particular that involved sexual sin which eventually led to one of the biggest turning points in my life.
You know that gut feeling you get when you are doing something you know you're going to regret later?
Yeah I had that feeling every single time I decided to not only give my boyfriend my heart, but my body as well.
I didn't realize that all those times I was sharing something so special with someone who wasn't so special, was not only going to turn that "intimacy" into heartbreak, but it was going to turn into shame and follow me into my adult life.
Over the last three years, I have noticed the way that my past sexual sin has surfaced and created so many insecurities in all of my relationships. It wasn't only destroying me but it was destroying others too. I stopped seeing myself the way God sees me. I felt too far gone.
Just after I took some time off of dating to pursue Jesus and let Him pursue me, I experienced a breakthrough. I had a few of those throughout that year, but one in particular has saved me from running back to sexual sin and to Jesus instead.
God was revealing to me that He had already forgiven me for my past. He cleanses our minds and purifies our hearts the moment we stop running from Him. God was waiting for me to show myself the grace that He was showing me. I wasn't able to see the fullness of Christ because I wasn't even able to look myself in the mirror and say, "You are loved and you are worthy."
If you feel like it is impossible to find your identity in Christ when you are struggling with sexual sin, remember that we already have victory over this. We might not see ourselves as righteous but God has. We are made new when we decide to turn to Him and let Him wash away that shame and regret that follows us.
We are not on our own.
I believe if someone would have told me when I was struggling with sexual sin from my past, that God is capable of putting those pieces back together. He is waiting to fulfill us in ways that nothing or no one else can.
So friends, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself the way God has already forgiven you. Give your dirty, messed up, and broken past to Him and say, "Take it. All of it. Show me how to see myself the way you see me."
And just watch the way God restores your heart. Watch Him return all of those pieces of your heart that you thought were gone for good.
Sharing your past, your failures, and all your junk doesn't only bring you the freedom and healing that the Lord is so clearly offering us, but it reminds others that they're not alone in this broken world.