NB: This is a story about a young woman who prays to God about her struggles with fornication. It is purely fictional and a result of my imaginations. It is unrelated to any person dead or alive; any such resemblance is purely coincidental.
At age 19, Vivian’s world is not as perfect as everyone seems to think. With her beautiful voice, she can charm the entire congregation and has gained the respect of both the young and old. Many parents wished their daughters’ could possibly turn out to be as decent and innocent as Vivian. Her mother is so proud of her, thinking her beloved daughter is the perfection she couldn’t be. Unfortunately, she has her own secret sins and is not proud of herself . She had been struggling with fornication with Stephen who also attends the same church as a pianist and secretly grieves this issue. The perfection people see in her makes it more difficult to cope and she feels unworthy in God’s eyes. Time without number she has tried to stop fornicating but to no avail. Unable to share this with anyone for fear of rejection, she always asks God to forgive her after the act, promising never to do it again. Sadly, she always finds herself back on her knees asking her heavenly father to forgive her one more time. Perhaps next time, she may have the strength to say, No!
Dear God, I did it again.
Why is it so difficult for me to stop? Am I always going to disappoint you like this? This time I tried harder than ever before, only to fall down on my face with defeat. Maybe I did not try hard enough! Is the spirit in me so weak it can no longer subdue the desires of my flesh? Will you forgive me this time just as you did last week and the week before? Maybe it is too much to ask but what about last month? I struggle to believe you no longer remember my sins in your unforgettable mind. At church today when Pastor Nelson preached about how you forgive and remember our sins no more, I knew he was telling the truth. For your words are exalted above your name.
However, doubt holds my mind captive. Is it true you have already forgotten what I confessed to you the last time I was here, sobbing on my knees as I begged for forgiveness? Unfortunately, I am here to remind you even if you have. It is for the same reason I come to you today. I am here to ask you to forgive me one more time with no reasonable excuse or justification. I wish I could have hidden from your sight under the covers while I gave myself to Steve again. I am so ashamed at the mere thought of you seeing my naked body under a man even though the sheets covered me. How I wish your omnipresent eyes could not locate me as I disobeyed you. Silly me, for nothing can escape your eyes that see right through me to my internal parts and the imaginations ruling my thoughts.
Your eyes miss nothing as they roam to and fro the earth. Even a baby ant cannot escape your scrutiny. The mere fact that you knew what I would do this afternoon even as I dressed up to go to church this morning makes me cringe. I wonder what you thought of me as I led the melody singers today, singing praises to your Holy name. Why did you not stop me? I know I promised not to go to his house again. I know you gave me a chance to escape when my mom asked me to stay home and watch a movie with her. Yes, you were giving me a way to escape when my cell phone rang ceaselessly. But as he kissed me, my head swam with desire. I forgot tomorrow was a step away and I had to face my guilt.
If only I had answered the call, it would have been my exit strategy. I would have been here singing your praises rather than pleading for forgiveness. Instead, I refused to heed the voice of caution, putting the phone off uncaring who the caller might be. I know I shouldn’t have gone to his house at all, but I felt I was strong enough to push him away when he came close to me. After all, he is still my friend and returning his book was an innocent gesture. Now I realize I am not as strong as I think I am. My will power is not always superior over my flesh to overcome every temptation. Although you have given man the freewill to do what he pleases, I wish you had carried me in your arms into the safety of my own room.
This freewill teaches me that I am not as wise as I think i am. My choices speak of my folly. After the three day fasting and prayers at church, I thought I was strong enough to be alone with him and not let him touch me. After all, when Jesus fasted for forty days, he could resist the devil’s temptation. I know I did not fast that long nor did Jesus play into the hands of the devil like I did. I went to a man’s room knowing the unavoidable might happen. I wonder what I was thinking; I wish my feet had taken over my mind and retraced its steps as I threaded the path of danger. However, I am but human and you are my God. This is my excuse again, oh God! Will you forgive me one more time?
Can I lift my hands to you again, will you not slap them away and banish me from your holy presence? My hands are not holy and they are not pure. But I keep lifting them up to you in the presence of the congregation looking like an angel before them. I feel like cutting myself and bleeding so you know I am so sorry for disappointing you again but my blood cannot save me. My blood cannot wash away my sins. I feel so guilty because I should have known better. How could I have sung of your holiness in the morning and willingly given myself to sin in the afternoon? If I had known this would happen today; I would have stayed at home the entire day.
Maybe if I had not been to church or led the singing group, I would not have felt so guilty. People were so touched by my singing they came to me after service and told me how blessed they were. Some even called me anointed! Only if they knew the truth about me, that beneath that anointing is a thorn so deep in my flesh. A thorn they would not be able to help me pull out because they may not understand how it came to be there in the first place. I will not be able to bear their criticisms and judgment for I too am human. In you alone do I put my trust to help me pull out this thorn in my flesh. It threatens to locate a nerve. Shame is knocking on my door and if you do not help me shut it out, it will consume me.
I wonder what made me choose Stephen as my prayer partner simply because he was so prayerful. The warning given us at students’ union to have members of the same-sex as our prayer partners now makes sense to me. I thought nothing bad could happen out of the innocence of the two of us praying together at the park while holding hands. Your word in proverbs vindicates itself for I have scooped fire onto my lap and it has inevitably burnt me. Oh God, please help me! Save me from myself, bring me onto purity’s side for sin drowns and covers me in shame!
Even my friend Mimi who looks unchristian by society standards has kept her virginity intact in obedience to you. Misjudged by her choice of clothing and outgoing spirit, mummy wants me to stay away from her. According to her Mimi is a bad influence on me. Only if she knew, the long skirts that make me appear so holy in comparison to Mimi’s short ones did not protect my womanhood. My holy looking garments have not set me on the part of righteousness nor prevented sinful pleasures in the secret place. If she looked deeper, maybe the truth would reveal itself. The other day when she made a bad comment about my friend, I almost blurted out.
“Mummy, help me be the good girl you want me to be because I am not what you think I am! I am not as pure as you portray me to be oh, mummy!” I wanted to tell her to take my hand and pull me out of the river of guilt less I sink. But I feared she would not understand. I am afraid she will never love me again, in her world of perfection there are no flaws. There is no room for me to repeat the mistakes she made, one of them resulting in my birth. She has warned me never to repeat those mistakes as her mother and grandma did before her. How can I hurt her like this when she single- handedly raised me up without a father?
No, my eyes cannot behold her sorrow when she finds out i am not that perfect. That is why I am here again, down on my knees and holding on to you. I am holding on to you like the woman who had her healing by touching the helm of Jesus’s garment. Please make me whole again!. Please don’t kick me away nor feel disgusted by my body. I know I have defiled your temple. I have not kept my body to you as the holy and living sacrifice, you require. I will hold on to you though my body is no more that holy temple. I will cling to you because you can make me complete again. I will come to you because you are the only one who will accept me, knowing the truth.
You will neither cast stones at me nor pierce me deeper with my thorn for your mercy is incomprehensible. It isn’t that mummy doesn’t love me but she is but human like I. Maybe one day when I am strong enough to stop fornicating, I may have the courage to confess. To tell her that her little angel knows how it feels to be in the arms of a man. That her precious daughter has gone beyond the stages of innocence to the extent of protecting herself from pregnancy. That her daughter has long passed the sharp pain of purity and knows the pleasure beyond. Guilty pleasures that last for a moment but leaves behind unbearable guilt and shame. Oh God, you have not given me the right to these pleasures and I know it is wrong.
It is only when I am married that I will be bold enough to stand in your presence having enjoyed what you yourself have allowed between a man and a woman. Only then will I remove the sheets from my naked body, unashamed as your eyes watch me. Sometimes I feel you are being too hard on me by telling me not to do something you created human beings to enjoy. Why give me these feelings and ask me to wait? Now, I know the truth. Your holy commandments are for my own good. Stephen loves me as long as I give him what he wants and turns his back on me when I say no. My heart has fooled me into mistaking lust for love and now I have learnt to lead it and not just follow blindly.
He is just a man, enjoying the pleasures I give him on a silver platter. I looked up to him as an elder brother who may find me unattractive even when I was naked. Unfortunately, he does not see me as a sister and though I offer him this forbidden fruit, he does not reject it. I am also guilty of feeling nothing for him after satisfying my body’s lusts. My heart belongs to you and my body too. Let it obey your commands, oh God. If I had known your warning against fornication was just to protect me and not to punish me, I would have been wiser. I would have been more cautious and not ventured so closely to any man. From his arms to yours; Oh lord I come, just as i am.
Cleanse me with your blood one more time and make me white as snow. Wash my hands with the water that flowed from the side of your son Jesus Christ when the soldiers pierced his side on the cross. That I may lift these hands freely to you in an act of worship, with no guilt or self condemnation. I will avoid him and stay as far away from him as Jesus stayed far away from sin while he was here on earth. I will flee from him as Joseph did in the house of Potiphar though it landed him in jail, for man-made prisons can only cage a man and not his soul. The prison my transgression puts me in is a worse torture. Open the gates and set me free oh Lord! I want to abstain from sex, please help me! Help me do what is pleasing in your sight.
Help me bring my flesh under your subjection where you rule. Wipe away my guilt and set me free. Show me your love and don’t throw me away. Then I will know you are God and your grace is real indeed. Your mercy is present and true. Remember my sins no more oh Lord and don’t let me find myself in this dilemma again for I don’t want to come asking you to forgive me the same sin. The same sin I confess to you month after month, week after week. Let me be a good girl, your little girl. Don’t stop loving me and I will do my best not to find myself here again.
Thank you so much for listening to me again as you did the other times. Thank you for patiently giving me an ear to lament my plight. This time I promise not to be in this place again asking you to forgive me the same sin. With your help and strength, when I come here on my knees next time, it will be to thank you for victory. To rejoice that you have brought me out of this web of sin and rescued me from hell’s snare and I will lift my head to you no more ashamed you have seen my shame. I ask you this in the Name of Jesus Christ my lord and personal savior. Amen.
RELATED BIBLE PASSAGES
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Does God truly forgive and forget our sins as Vivian is wondering? Like Vivian, do you struggle to run away from sexual sin? Why is sexual immorality a sin against our own bodies? What does the scripture mean by we do not belong to ourselves? Will we recognize our bodies as God’s temple if we could see him with our naked eyes residing in us?
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
Does God truly forgive and forget our sins as Vivian is wondering?
Like Vivian, do you struggle to run away from sexual sin?
Why is sexual immorality a sin against our own bodies?
Will we recognize our bodies as God’s temple if we could see him with our naked eyes residing in us?
Do you agree with Vivian that although we sometimes feel God is being too hard on us by asking us to stay pure until we get married; it is for our own good?