Here are four steps for those who desire a restoration after a sexual sin.
I have a close friend who I’ve known for years, and “Alex” (not his real name) has battled an addiction to pornography for most of those years. He would do okay for a while but then fall back into it, and again would come the shame and disgrace, but God didn’t leave him there. I tried to be his accountability partner (which is helpful) and to password protect his Internet with a G-rated browser setting, among other things, but year after year, it was “victory and defeat, victory and defeat.” For him, it was an endless cycle. Then, he finally surrendered. He said, “I give up” in tears…and then, suddenly, he finally felt like he had hope. He is still tempted but he only found victory by surrendering to God, and God has helped him win many victories over this former scourge.
Reconciliation with a Spouse
If someone has committed adultery, they must go to their spouse and confess it. I can’t imagine how hard that must be, but it must be confessed. They can’t just sweep this under the carpet. They must confess it to God, but also to their spouse. If their spouse knows, they must ask for their forgiveness. Most Christian marriage counselors don’t want to see a couple divorced over a one-time affair. They are always seeking restoration for the couple and help them cope with this sin. God forgives us of all our sins, and hopefully the spouse will forgive them. As for trust, that may take some time…but it is worth it. Time will tell.
Reconciliation with the Person
If there was a sexual sin outside of marriage where both people were not married, I believe it is necessary to apologize to that person for taking advantage of them (if that was the case). Either way, a Christian knows that any sex outside of marriage is sin, and if an unmarried Christian has sex with another Christian or even a non-Christian, it is necessary for them to go to that person and tell them that they have sinned against them and against God. Ask for their forgiveness…just as they have asked God to forgive them. If the temptations are too great, it might even take separating themselves from one another in order to prevent the same thing from happening again. Why not marry if both are Christians?
I believe a Christian who is involved in charitable work or a ministry in their church is less likely to commit a sexual sin. There is something about being held accountable to one another, and there is certainly accountability in the church (Matt 18:15-20). Besides, that might be the place to meet a godly Christian man or woman. That may lessen the chances of sexual immorality occurring (we would hope, at least), because just as “Bad company ruins good morals” (1st Cor 15:33), good company builds morals.
If you or someone you know has fallen into sexual immorality, and they claim to be a believer, warn them that the unrepentant sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom (1st Cor 6:9). The Apostle Paul warns us all, and for good reason, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1st Cor 6:10). God may have to use you to warn them for their own good, and you might even need some help (Matt 18:15-20), but help them you must! You may have to even tell them, out of love, that “you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Eph 5:5).
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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