She had several partners and just as many abortions. He used to be homosexual. They then accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and their lives changed. But they have a heavy past. Can this complicate your relationship?
When God forgives us, He does it completely. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 8.12 NKJV) In Greek, the expression “remember no more”, means also not to bring back to memory. It is not that God forgets our past (how can a God who knows everything forget something?). It is that He chooses not to bring it back to his memory; He chooses not to speak about it anymore and move on to something else. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV), it is written: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” No matter the past we have lived, no matter what bad decisions we have made, when we are born again, everything starts all over again.
Even if we are forgiven, and that God doesn’t condemn us for our offenses, we still have to live with the consequences of our mistakes. Sometimes, it is these unpleasant consequences, that are the best way to teach us to not repeat these bad choices. Even though God forgave David’s adultery with Bathsheba, the firstborn son of this union died as a consequence of David’s sin (1 Samuel 12: 13-14). If we commit a murder, God can forgive us, but we will still have to spend time in prison for what we have done.
The same goes for our mistakes in regards to relationships. Although God forgives our sins and gives us a new life, it is quite possible that some scars remain. God can heal us emotionally, but our loved ones can keep bad memories of our mistakes and bring them up often. When we are in love with a person that has a complicated past we can trust God, and by that very fact, trust that person and live a harmonious relationship. However, at family celebrations, or even in church meetings, it is possible that there is some tension in the air. It is a difficult pressure for the person who has this complicated past, but this pressure will also be transferred to the partner. When we marry a person, we also marry their family, entourage, and past.
It is also possible that the special person who has just entered your life may have trouble forgiving themselves. They may remain on their guards in certain circumstances; keep that in mind. You can accompany them in the process of self-forgiveness, but do not play the savior. Remember that it is Christ who heals, not you, and sometimes the help of a professional is needed. If you have trouble living with someone’s complicated past, do not marry them. The situation will not necessarily improve over the years. You must be at peace with their past before you commit to them. Your role is not to constantly bring up their (their entourage probably does it too often!). But if they start speaking to you about it, your role is to listen and guide them to Christ, who has forgiven us and given us new life.
You must listen to what the people around you have to say about the person who makes your heart beat faster, to know how the person feels about what people say about them. But do not forget that sometimes, the entourage exaggerates what happened. It’s even possible that people are talking to you about a person who has not done anything, or not done exactly what they said. Before judging anyone, or before dismissing someone, make sure you know the whole truth about a situation. I knew a young woman who was always in her corner at church, did not speak anyone and never smiled. Some people started saying that this young woman was not talking to anyone because she was snobbish, they said she thought she was better than anyone else, etc. But the only reason she was keeping her distance was that she was shy. You have to pay attention to what people are saying but always check our sources!
Dating (and even marrying) a person with a complicated past is not impossible, but it will require more patience, compassion, and boldness. If you do not feel comfortable with this mission, don’t continue in this relationship. But if you are ready for this challenge, you will surely find rare pearls.