This is a short story about sexual purity and grace loosely based on a true account. Names have been changed.
“When I learned about what she did, my world broke down into pieces. But it also opened my eyes to my own foolishness and the religious arrogance brought about by perfectionism.”
UPDATED: converted into pure English so I can create a Filipino version.
“Tell me you are just joking.” I said in a trembling voice as I gripped the steering wheel. The cold air inside my Elantra can not contain the burning anger I feel inside.
“I wish I’m just joking. I wish it were all just a joke. But… but it’s not.” Her voice started to crack. She could hardly look at me as tears well up her eyes.
I looked out of the window to avoid seeing her tears. I can not bear to see her face. I can’t believe that the face I likened to an angel, so pure and innocent could have committed that kind of horrible sin.
“Since when?” My voice started to crack too. But I tried to sound firm.
“H-he just forced me…”
“SINCE WHEN?!!” I accidentally hit the car horn as I repeated the question. I don’t want to hear her explanations and lame excuses. The horn’s noise echoed through the almost empty basement parking of Robinson’s Galleria, breaking the hollow silence of that summer evening.
“F-four months ago.”
“How many times did you commit it? Twice…thrice?” This time I was raising my voice.
“ I… I lost count.” She said between sobs.
I can’t believe what I just heard from her.
No matter how I tried, it just won’t sink in. I don’t know how I would react.
Will I feel angry? Should I?
Do I have the right?
Maybe I do, we somewhat, made a promise. And she broke it.
I feel betrayed, I feel disappointed. I feel pain.
But I also feel sad for her. I can feel her pain… and guilt.
“He just forced you? You did it more than once, now you’re telling me HE JUST FORCED YOU? I wasn’t born yesterday!” I finally reached the end of my self-control.
“Bernadette, we made a promise. We promised to keep ourselves sexually-pure until marriage. It was not just a vow between us, but also with God. But you, you betrayed that vow, and our friendship.”
I know I was condemning her. I know I was hurting my friend, a friend who I loved more than I would love my sister.
But that time, I really intended to condemn her. I really wanted her to feel the pain. Of how disappointed I was. All that I can think of was how I feel about it. I can’t even tell why I’m reacting that way, yeah, maybe I was over-reacting.
That was the last time I talked to her. I felt like she doesn’t even deserve the friendship, the respect and the love.
The bitterness grew. That incident made me bitter. It affected me terribly, even my prayer life. I felt my prayers are no longer reaching the gates of heaven, that He won’t listen to me anymore. So I blame her even more.
Until one day I can’t take it anymore, I poured my heart to God.
“God, I’m frustrated. I can’t believe she’d fall for it. She’s a leader, she should have known what’s right or wrong.”
Tell me, does being a church leader make you immune to falling into temptation? When you became a youth leader, did you become immune to temptation or sin?
“No… But she’s a leader.” I defended.
And she’s human, just like you.
But Lord, she committed a grave sin against you. I believe this is holy anger.
I appreciate the concern, but it is I who was offended, not You. It’s between Me and her, not you. Her sins are my issues, not yours to be concerned about.
Sorry Lord, but I still feel bad. She’s a Christian!
That’s the problem with most Christians. Especially those in position within big Church organizations. Subconsciously, you create a caste system. You think highly of your leaders — somewhat elevated to a pedestal, compared to the “commoners” . That Church leaders are in the spiritually-elite class. So you often strive to go up the “spiritual hierarchy”. In your prideful heart, unknown to you, you sometimes take pride in being “made holy”, and therefore are more deserving than others. As if it was something you earned by your obedience. And when some of you fall from that elevated pedestal, back into the mire from where I rescued you, you despise and disown them. A penalty for soiling the “Christian reputation”.
You would even say, “These Christians never really encountered God, for if they did they wouldn’t have fallen”. DON’T YOU REALIZE THAT I ALLOW THESE THINGS TO REMIND MY PEOPLE, that apart from Me, you can NOT do anything good in my sight? Not even obedience.
Besides, I dont think that’s the only reason. Do you really want me to bring to light what’s in your heart?
How come she can sin as she wants?
(I felt in my heart that He smiled. My chest felt lighter).
There you go. You are irritated because you feel cheated. You feel cheated, as if sinning is something so enticing, but you are not allowed to do. Then you discovered some of your brethrens have committed a sin against Me. You feel its not fair, am I right?
I guess so. But why is it, that based on your reactions today, You sound like it’s OK for you that they sin? I was expecting You’d be angry and punish them for their sins.
My Child, I always hated sin, I always am angry at the sins men commit. But my love for my people, is far too great. And sometimes, I allow men to fall into their sins so they will have a firsthand experience of my grace and mercy.
“It’s unfair. I have always tried to keep your laws, now they sinned and you are treating it LIGHTLY?”
Did I say I’m treating her sin lightly? Well, you can also do so as you wish. I have given you free will. It is your choice if you want to commit those sins that you so wanted to do.
“What? You are giving me the go signal to sin?”
I did not say I am approving it. You know I hate sin. What I’m saying is if you feel like sinning is something that is being denied of you, as if it was your right and that you are being deprived of that right, then by all means go and do what is pleasing in your eyes. But remember that you will be held accountable for all you would do.
That’s exactly my point,I’m afraid to sin against you because I fear the consequences.
If you will remain in that kind of mindset, that you will try not to sin because you fear the consequences, but have it been without consequences you would live in promiscuity, then you will always find yourself in a struggle between your flesh and My Spirit living inside of you.
Be Holy for I am holy. Strive to be holy, not just because you FEAR Me, but because you LOVE Me. Unless you have a loving relationship with me, and unless that relationship with me continues to grow each day, then you will never escape the vicious cycle of sinning-repentance. That is because that cycle is being driven with fear, not love.
“Ok. You won.” I sighed. Was there ever a time I won an argument with Him?
“Last question, will you punish her?”
If I do or if I don’t, what is that to you? I deal with my children individually and uniquely. Carry your own cross and follow me.