When I was a kid, I was a “goody two-shoes.” I was the model kid. So was my brother. My parents’ friends would look at them and say, “What are you doing right?” I don’t remember what my mom or dad would reply, but for some reason, my brother and I pretty much stayed between the lines. For example, both of my parents smoked, but my brother and I never so much as touched a cigarette.
We both stayed sexually pure well into adulthood too. And without going any further into my private life, let me simply say that my sexual involvement, while not pure as the driven snow, is very conservative compared with today’s standards (and even the standards when I was in high school in the mid-70s.)
In my mind, I’ve worn my sexual conservatism as a badge of honor. Unfortunately, it has also made me very judgmental about others who haven’t been so careful with their sexuality. I have looked askance at many friends who have gotten sexually involved with a number of partners over the years.
So you can imagine when I met my boyfriend, whose past, while not wild, is not snow-white either, I began to stumble. It was as though every woman he’d ever been with was a specter in our relationship. (This was my perception, not his.) I grilled him about them. And as a friend recently said to me, it was bothering me because I had the sense that he had not upheld my own particular standards, and therefore, was sullied and dirtied.
I couldn’t seem to let it go. And as we’ve gotten more serious about each other–to the point of discussing marriage–I finally confessed to him the other day that I kept standing in judgment of him, and couldn’t figure out how to stop. As I’ve said in other blogs, this man is the sweetest, most humble and loving man I’ve ever known. He is a true treasure. And he is a fairly new Christian whose growing relationship with Jesus just polishes his halo even further. So why did I continue to hold onto his sins when Jesus certainly wasn’t? And what right did I have to do so? Why have I put myself on such a high horse anyway?
When I confessed my judgment over him, he took my hand in his two hands and said, “Honey, that’s something you’re just going to have to work out.” (Burning-hot coals promptly dropped out of the sky onto my head.)
A few days later, I was doing my morning devotional, and reading in Acts, chapter 10. It’s the story about how Peter receives a vision about a sheet being lowered out of heaven, and on the sheet were all kinds of animals, all of which were considered unclean by the Jews. And God said to him, “Arise, Peter, kill and eat!” And Peter replied, (with a large dose of misplaced pride, no doubt) “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.”
But then God said,”What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.”
BAM. God spoke to me through those words as clearly as if I’d heard Him audibly. What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy. It was a breakthrough.
From the moment my boyfriend asked Jesus into his heart, he was cleansed of every sin. He was washed by the blood of Jesus. Everything in his past was done away with, and was as far away from God as the east is from the west. And Jesus has done the same with my sins, praise God.
I learned a few things from that experience. First, the obvious: we have no right to sit in judgment, because there is most certainly a log in our own eyes that we need to extract. Second, when we confess our sins to God and to those whom we are sinning against, God is faithful and just to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. God, in His tender care, knew I needed to get past my stumbling block before I could wholly and completely commit myself to the wonderful man He’s given me, so He set the scriptures alight as I read them, and spoke to me in a personal way. I so love Him for that.
All who call on Jesus as Lord and Savior are pure as the driven snow. No matter what their background. What a wonder. What a thrill. What a gift.