Recently, I read a story that I’m still processing. It is a tale that has traveled internationally about a young woman who claims to have been a virgin, went to a club, got drunk and had sex only to discover months later that she was HIV-positive as a direct result. As if that were not tragic enough, due to how hurt and angry she was about her health diagnosis, she has been purposefully infecting people with HIV by not sharing her status with them before engaging in sex. Here’s an excerpt of what she said, anonymously, in the Epoch Times:
“The student says she nearly committed suicide but had a thought. ‘Something came up in my mind that I should [get] revenge. I hated men and I didn’t want to be near [them] anymore. My future had been ruined, somehow someone had to pay,’ she said.
After undergoing private therapy, ‘I accepted my fate and promised to make all men I come across suffer,’ she said.
The student claims that she keeps a list of the men that she infected and will release it when she’s on her death bed. ‘I know I have nothing left to do on earth but to wait for my death but before I do, men will get it,’ she said.
The men so far include many students, as well as lecturers, lawyers, celebrities, and elected officials.”
Now here’s the thing. Some people speculate that this is a story that’s covering up something even bigger; that “she” may not actually exist but simply is a symbol of a health crisis in Kenya. Time will tell but either way, it serves as a great warning sign. A sign to have protected sex? Well, I’ll say this: When you’re engaging in any form of sex outside of marital covenant, a condom can only shield you from so much. As I often say “Science has yet to invent a heart condom” and Spiritually Transmitted Diseases is the “STD” that oftentimes goes undetected. At least at first.
However, actually what I mean is that there are all kinds of people just like this real person or fictional character. Someone hurts them, they are angry and although that is not a sin to be angry for a season (even the Word says be angry and do not sin- Ephesians 4:26-27), not making the time to forgive? That is.
And take it from me, when you hold all of that stuff in, when you don’t “Accept that the past cannot change” (which is one person’s definition of forgiveness), not only does it alter who you are as a human being, not only does it cause you to put out “toxic energy” into the atmosphere, but it also puts people into a kind of spiritual positioning that a lot of people don’t want to face:
“For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.”—Matthew 6:14-15 (AMP)
When I sit in marriage sessions and people bring up divorce, Matthew 6:14-15 is one of the first things that I remind them of. It’s pretty bold (and dangerous) to decide that you don’t need God’s forgiveness, which is essentially what you are saying when you don’t choose to forgive someone else. And I don’t mean that “I forgive you but never talk to me again” weirdness. That’s not how God forgives us. He releases us from our debt and is patient as we seek to restore our relationship with him. He models to us how we are to forgive others.
If this young woman is indeed real (and even if she’s not, we all know that there is someone out here doing something quite similar), it’s her lack of forgiveness for the man who infected her that’s causing her to affect others.
Gee. And won’t that preach a sermon a million times over?
If someone has hurt or harmed you, that’s horrible. It really is. And as Psalm 4:4 instructs, spend some time meditating on your bed, seek divine wisdom from above (James 1:5) and be patient (James 1:4) until you receive God’s answer about how to move forward (Proverbs 3:4-6). Yet no matter what, choose to forgive; to pardon the offense. Because if you don’t forgive the one who “infected” you, your anger and bitterness, one way or another, is only going to infect others.
And that turns you from a victim into a victimizer.
Choose forgiveness because forgiving takes you from being a victim to someone who stands victorious (Tweet This!).