Question

I am in need of your advice.

I am currently 16 years of age. I was raised in a Christian home and was baptized at the age of 11. When I was very young, I was always the first person at the altar praising God. After we moved churches, I began experiencing many problems because pastors were always changing and the congregation was always fighting. In junior high school I became very sexually aware. I was very flirtacious. I dressed indecently. When I entered high school, I had sex with a guy I had only known for a very little while. After this, I had sex with a guy who I thought I had been in love with for the longest time.

My sisters and mother found out about the first guy and immediately proceeded to punish me. I lost my cell phone, Facebook, and any other rights. My parents, after this, lost all trust in me. After this happened, I lived for over a year without physical contact with a guy. Recently, I began to struggle, not wanting to go to church, and again fell into temptation and had sex with yet another guy. Nobody knows about the third guy except for one person.

For the last year or so, I have been occasionally watching porn. I know it isn't right, but somehow can't stop. I am able to stop for a period of time, and then watch it again. Then I once again, ask for forgiveness. I know it is not right to ask for forgiveness if you are not truly going to stop.

I have prayed about all of this. I have always felt that I need a guy in my life to love me. I have been a very lustful person. A few days ago, I ran into a guy that I had met at a church car wash. I have been talking to him almost non-stop. He is a very Christian guy and is longing for God. His number one priority is God. We are talking about possibly starting a relationship, but him being 19, we are going to wait until I turn 17. We are not sure if a relationship is what God wants so we are praying about it. He is praying about it. I have been trying to get closer to God and now dedicate more time to Him. This guy does not yet know that I am not a virgin. When I had the sex, it was not necessarily because I wanted to, because I didn't feel anything, but because I didn't know how to say "no" and keep the guys interested. I now have my priorities almost set and want to wait until marriage for my next time. My questions are as follows:

  1. How do I know if I am truly trying to get closer to God, or if I am just doing it for the guy?
  2. What can I do about all my problems and "addiction"?
  3. What should I do about this guy? Should I proceed to talk to him? Should I tell him about me not being a virgin?
  4. Why do I feel this need for a guy's attention?
  5. Would it be possible for me to get a "purity ring" to help remind me?
  6. Will God forgive me?

Answer

While the situation at your church was not right or good, I don't think you can fully blame those around you for the choices you made. Perhaps someone might have reigned you in or convinced you to make better choices, but in the end, the choices were your own.

Your family did try to help, though it was a bit too late. "We have a little sister, and she has no breasts. What shall we do for our sister in the day when she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build upon her a battlement of silver; and if she is a door, we will enclose her with boards of cedar" (Song of Solomon 8:8-9). You were a door when it came to guys and the proper response by those who care about you is to protect you until you matured enough to make better decisions.

Usually when a teenage girl chases after a guy's attention, it is due to a lack of a strong fatherly influence in the family. There is built-in need for male attention that a father normally provides and when it is lacking, girls will search it out with males older than themselves. The problem is that the easiest way to get a man's attention is by being sexually provocative. Worse, the type of male easiest to snare are men who more interested in sex than protecting a girl. The result is almost always sex without any meaningful relationship. The guy gets what he wants. The girl tries to get a secure relationship, but these type of guys leave when they see they might be tied down to one woman.

What has happened is that you've tied the idea that having sex means a guy is interest in you as a person. That is the basis of appeal that pornography has for you -- and it is just as empty. So you keep searching in the wrong places for what you really want. The pornography has to stop. It continues to warp your ideas of what a relationship ought to be like. "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God" (I Thessalonians 4:3-5). Pornography is a sin that you can control (I Corinthians 10:13).

Whether you have really changed is measured by whether you will continue to stay away from sex, even if this current young man leaves you. . If this guy suggests having sex, would you turn him down flat, even if that meant losing him? It is an measure of whether pleasing God is more important to you than pleasing yourself or others A purity ring to impress this young man would be wrong. A ring to remind yourself of your commitment to God would be fine if you are serious.

Everyone sins and God wants to forgive those who have given up sinning. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). The ways you have sinned doesn't matter; it is the fact that you don't want to continue those sins.

If you think this guy is serious about marrying you, then you need to tell him that to you regret your wild past and that you made the mistake of having sex. You should not get into details about the encounters. Though he will likely ask, knowing those details will haunt him with questions of whether he is competing with these past encounters.