I have a girlfriend who attends the same church that I do. I feel like I love her a lot…. We have been going out and, on one of our dates, we went too far. Actually, we didn’t have sexual relations, but we have touched each other inappropriately. I’m very embarrassed to have to admit it. I failed God. I feel guilty and very badly for having disrespected my girlfriend. She is the one that I want to marry.

Might there be a way for me to get close to God? And might there be a way to make things right with my girlfriend? Could we have another chance? I really love her.

Dear Friend,

Only those who are familiar with God’s laws will understand why you feel guilty. Those who are familiar with the Bible, as you are, know that God designed sexual relationships to occur only between a man and woman who have committed themselves to one another in marriage. Since you are not yet married, you know that you broke God’s law by being intimate with your girlfriend, and that is what is making you feel guilty.

Some might think that the guilt that you feel is the vindictiveness of God. They think that God demands too much of His followers, and that there is nothing wrong with sexual activity before marriage. They think that God just wants to get revenge because you made Him mad.

Unlike them, you know that God loves you and that His laws are designed to protect you. Just as children are protected by a fence around the playground, God’s followers are protected by the virtual fence that is made up of His laws. When you and your girlfriend decided to trust God and to follow Him, you also decided to do your best to follow His laws.

However, there is not one person who can always keep all of God’s laws. The Apostle Paul taught that every one of us is a sinner and every one of us break God’s laws.1 Those of us who are followers of Christ try to sin less and less as time passes. When we do sin, we ask God’s forgiveness again, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and we start over.

Unfortunately, even though God forgives us, He doesn’t take away the consequences of our sin. One of the consequences of sexual sin is that feel-good hormones in your brain are released, and once you have sampled those hormones, it is extremely difficult to act like it never happened.

Therefore, if you know that this girl is the one you want to marry, and if your combined income is sufficient to live on your own, then we suggest that you get married as soon as possible. However, if either of you is unsure, or if you cannot yet afford to live independently, then the only solution is to decide to never again be alone together in a private place.

We wish you well,

1Ro 3:23