The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 (NIV )
It was a completely weak moment in my life when I decided to place an advertisement on the “Casual Encounters” section of Craigslist. Single and celibate since my divorce two years earlier (though not afraid of self-pleasuring) and unsaved, I decided that I was ready to put on my “big girl panties” and do what everyone else around me and on the television programs of my preference were doing: go and get laid.
Thinking back on this time, it’s a miracle that I didn’t meet an ax murderer in my quest to rack up sexual partners. I could be cool like Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda, Charlotte, or Samantha, right? I could meet a man who would fulfill my desires to be intimate with a man. I could have sex without facing emotional consequences, or even considering that my feelings could be hurt. Or so I thought.
After a slew of emails from men eager for my willingness, I arranged a meeting with a man who would be my casual sexual partner for months. Long story short, feelings ended up being tremendously hurt. My feelings, not his, and the resulting downfall from this ill-conceived affair haunted me for months after its end. I found myself in a self-induced torment, Google-stalking my former partner, looking up and constantly checking the Facebook accounts of his family and friends, trying so desperately to rationalize the fact that I had reduced myself to nothing more than a free prostitute with zero compensation except for a gigantic ding to my self-esteem.
Let’s just say it took a long, long, long time for me to fully get over this should-have-never-have-happened-in-the-first-place casual encounter. Shame perpetuated my thoughts with desperation for closure that made me rehash every single encounter on a regular basis. The good news is that I’ve since put this incident long behind me and kicked my shame to the curb. The shame, the negative feelings, the self-harm that I experienced and wallowed in were nothing less than oppression from Satan.
We all make mistakes. We’re spiritual beings in a human suit, as a Bible teacher told me once. We are subject to the world, which is under the rule of Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4). The goal of the devil is to blind us to the light of Christ, to hold us down and have us crushed. To know that there is a devil who is a god of the world is one of the most important things you can have in your life as a Christian, because it gives even greater glory to the work of the Savior. When you know that shame and fear are tactics by the devil, you hold on to the truth stronger than ever before.
The truth is the Word of God and that Word tells us the simple fact that our sins are wiped away by God as soon as we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and repent for our misgivings. He gives us the victory in his name. We are surrounded by favor, and we are subject to no lies of the devil.
“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22 (NIV)
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19(NIV)
As children of God, we engage in spiritual warfare every day of our lives, a very real battle that is not to be taken lightly: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
Wasn’t my decision to take a sexual partner because everyone else in the world was doing it a prime example of Ephesians 6:12? At the time I did not know the Word, and I did not know that promiscuity is not a godly virtue by any means (Ephesians 5:3). I embraced the powers of the dark world, and it only led to harm.
In our everyday existence in the world, it is all too easy to get caught up in the lies of the devil. The enemy sneaks up on you at the most inconspicuous moments, reminding you of things from your past that you wish you hadn’t done in the first place. Here’s the good news: God’s already forgotten. Don’t hang on to past sins, don’t let things that can’t be undone hurt you anymore, and most importantly don’t forget this very simple and important fact: If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 (NIV).