Forgiving Past Relationships

 by Chuck Snyder
 co-chaplain for the Seattle Mariners


Dear Chuck
I have a girlfriend that I am going to marry. I love her deeply and she loves me deeply too. We are really in love with one another. But there is this part of her that I cannot forget. I went into this relationship knowing that she has been intimate with another person before. I choose to forget but I can't. So many times I just wished she had never told me this, but I do know that honesty is such an important part of any relationship. And I really appreciate her for her boldness and honesty.

How can I manage this? I can't discuss it even with her because I am afraid it might hurt her and cause her to brood over her past ways. Hurting her is the last thing I want to do, and I am lost. Help me, Chuck...

Chuck's Response
Thanks for the note about your fiancÚ and her having had sex with someone else before she met you. I think it's a matter of you looking at the situation as God does. I, of course, don't know this for sure, but she probably has asked God's forgiveness for this sin with a broken heart. Therefore, this is what He has done with her sin. HE HAS FORGOTTEN IT! Here are some scriptures that talk about this.

"He has removed our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west." Psalms 103:12 (Living)

North and south meet at some point. If you go north for awhile, eventually you will begin to go south because of our round earth. However, if you go east you'll always be going east. Or if you go west, you'll always be going west. The two will never meet.

"Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord."  Acts 3:19 (KJV)

"... and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ's cross." Colossians 2:14 (Living)

"For God was in Christ, restoring the world to himself, no longer counting men's sins against them but blotting them out. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others.
2 Corinthians 5:19 (Living)

You're probably too young to remember blotters, but we used to use pen and ink in school. We would blot the ink to keep it from smearing, because it dried slowly. However, if you blotted it too quickly, you took all the ink away. God's "blotter" erased all of our sins.

"I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds when sins have once been forever forgiven and forgotten, there is no need to offer more sacrifices to get rid of them.
Hebrews 10:17-18 (Living)

"And I will be merciful to them in their wrongdoing, and I will remember their sins no more." Hebrews 8:12 (Living)

I take God at His Word when the Bible says He will never remember our sins anymore. They are forever out of His memory. What a gift that is.

"It was good for me to go through all of this bitterness. You have delivered me from death, and have put all of my sins behind Your back." Isaiah 38:17

I love the picture of God reaching around and putting my sins behind His back where He can't get at them. There are many other scriptures that imply that our sins have been covered by Christ's blood and thrown in the deepest sea. God forgives our mistakes, so we can forgive others for their mistakes as well, and help them go on. So if the God of the universe has forgiven and forgotten, why should we still carry the burden?

I realize this is sort of a mind exercise, but I don't think it is fair for you to remember something that God has forgotten. We all make mistakes and pay the consequences, but God blesses us and makes us pure in His sight when we ask His forgiveness. If you think you will carry this memory into the marriage, then don't get married. Sex is the beautiful icing on the cake of marriage, and you would not want to have anything contaminate that beautiful experience. These are some thoughts. Let me know if you want to talk further.

Chuck Snyder



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Updated 05/24/2005