Question of the week: what comes after sexual failure?

A couple of weeks ago I posted a couple of blogs on sexual sin and what it looks like to respond to someone fighting lust.

There was one comment that resonated so deeply in my heart that I knew I’d have to write a whole post to respond:

I would like to know whats your advice if you have made mistakes sexually? specifically if you (by the grace of God) have not had sex, but have crossed several lines and not drawn your boundaries tight enough…

I’ve screwed up with lust and physical boundaries, so have many others I know. Are we doomed to unhappy marriages?

There are so many things I want to say in response.  Here are three of those things:

1. The greatness of sin. I’ve noticed that people either talk about sin in specific terms or general ones.

The folks who speak in exact terms are usually clarifying what they haven’t done; adding the specific details actually helps them look better.

The ones who speak vaguely are usually the ones who have crossed all the lines.  They aren’t going to be helped by getting into the details; speaking in general terms will make it sound like it’s not that bad.

Even the way we describe sin is an attempt to justify ourselves.

Here’s the deal: unless your thoughts, feelings and actions have been perfectly pure since birth, you’ve failed sexually.  There aren’t ‘B’s for sexual failure.  There’s only a perfect 100% or a failing score.  Jesus really thinks that thoughts or desires in your heart are as condemning before God as going ‘all the way’.

This is only bad news if you find your confidence in your own righteousness.

Before we can answer the question ‘what comes after sexual failure’ we have to believe we’ve failed.

2. The greatness of the gospel.  I’m not an idiot.  Our sins affect us.  They have real consequences in this world.

It might be true that my past sexual impurity will lead to future issues in marriage.  That might be true.  But here’s what I know is true: God is able and eager to redeem my failure.

Would God really want to spare me from the just consequences of sin and give me future grace?  That sounds an awful lot like the gospel.

God has promised to redeem sin.  What others meant for evil – what I meant for evil – He means for good.  Sins committed against you and sins committed by you are both under God’s sovereign hand, and both being molded into shapes that bring Him glory and you good.

I’m not ‘doomed’ by my failure.  I know that my past sin is in the hands of a writer who has the creative licence to make sure my sin is not the end of the story.

What comes after sexual failure?  For those in Christ Jesus, goodness and grace.

3. The greatness of God.  I know all the stuff I’m writing in this post is true, but honestly, I’m terrified that my sin has ruined my life. Sometimes I hear the whispers in my head when ‘bad’ things happen: well, what did you expect?  You deserve this!

To that I say: on my own, I deserve far worse than anything that might come my way.  But I’m wrapped up in Jesus and so the only thing I deserve now is the favor of the Father that is promised to Him.

Knowing that enables me to look at all my ‘fears’ and say: bring it on.  I have nothing to lose.  Now, in Christ, the only thing I need is the only thing I know I can never lose.

My heart and my flesh my fail, but God is mine.  He’s my portion forever.

What can man do to me?  What can I do to myself?  Nothing that can cost me God.  Nothing that can cost me His kindness and goodness, His faithfulness and sovereign protection.  Nothing that can cost me the promise of knowing Him for all eternity.

What comes after sexual failure?  For those in Christ Jesus, God.

I’ve said all the things I know to say to comfort you.  All that’s left to tell you is that you are not alone.

I know what it feels like to fail. I know what it looks like to feel you’ve ruined everything.  I’ve tasted failure so devastating that it has made me long for death.

Let the failure rush over you and do its worst.  Feel the full weight of it.  You are indeed a far far greater sinner than you ever imagined.

But know this: that weight is not yours to bear.  There is an anchor for your soul and a promise that will cause you to rise one day soon: you have a far far greater Savior than you ever dreamed.

One thought on “Question of the week: what comes after sexual failure?

  1. Thank you for this article… I am one of those who speaks in “general terms” – no need to clarify for many judgmental southerners the mistakes I’ve made– but the guilt of the past has eaten me up. I AM aware of the greatness of my sin, but struggle with awareness of the greatness of my God…. I worry about confessing sins of the past and seeking encouragement and guidance — but my mistakes could be redeemed for His glory and by hiding my sin, I am robbing Him of the glory He is due.

    That being said, I probably will still use “general terms” in some conversations….I feel making my point doesn’t need specific graphic details with some people…ie, my youth group girls 🙂

    Thanks once again for the encouragement. i feel that the guilt I’ve been holding on to since college is beginning to be chipped away.

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