(This post was originally published here on my personal blog on March 14, 2013.)
You do not have to marry him.
You. do. not. have. to. marry. him.
And I think you know who you are, even if I don’t. Today someone needs to know: you do not have to marry him.
I don’t care if your only friends are also his.
I don’t care if you gave him your virginity.
I don’t care if you have been together five years and feel you’ve wasted the best decade of your life.
You do not have to marry him.
And “I don’t care” is truly not so harsh as it sounds because compared to how much I do care about your life and well-being and future happiness, none of the friends, sex, years matter.
None of those things make him “the one” for you.
What makes a man “the one” for you is when both of you say “I do” to the rest of your lives together in faithfulness and marriage before God and your government and your friends.
Up until that point, no one can strong-arm you to commit to him. There is nothing in your past that requires you give him your future.
There is nothing in your past that requires you give him your future.
It doesn’t matter if you said “yes.”
It doesn’t matter if you’ve sent the invitations.
It doesn’t matter if the guests are humming along, “all dressed in white…”
It doesn’t matter if you are halfway down the aisle to the man of your nightmares.
No person on earth should hold you to a jerk.
Because God will not.
And maybe that’s where the lies are founded.
Do you feel like jerk is all you deserve?
Do you feel like jerk is the best you’ll ever do?
Is he your punishment for not-achieving, not-good-enough, not-pretty-enough, not-wealthy-enough, not-pure-enough?
Because if so, you are holding over your own head what the God of creation has died to redeem.
No, you are not perfect.
Yes, prettier girls exist.
Yes, sex outside of marriage has its consequences.
And there is no loving way to beat around that bush. God made sex for marriage between a man and a woman and for no where else. When we act in any way other than his, it cannot be argued as not sinful. Period.
However, for anyone to think they have earned God’s favor by abstaining from sex is just as rebellious in that thought and creates the same-sized, hopelessly-wide chasm between God and perpetrator.
Every single one of us has been there, under the wrath of God.
And yet for every single one of us, Jesus stepped in. He took away our notice of debt.
God loves you. And love means no more hate.
So please be free from self-imposed punishment for the wasted, the illicit, the heartbreak.
Do you deserve it for your actions and choices? Absolutely. And so do I.
But God has dealt with what we deserve. And to punish ourselves is to set our standards higher than the perfection of Christ, to proclaim our justice system superior to that of the Righteous King, to declare our failures too big for the finished success of Jesus.
You are precious and treasured. You are made in the image of God Almighty. You are so loved and adored by him.
He wants you to be treated well.
He wants a man who will love you selflessly for the rest of your life.
He wants to give you good things.
He is a God of grace, or else he would not have filled his love letter to us with endless testimony to it.
Tamar, the widow who dressed as a prostitute to seduce the father of her deceased husband, mother to twins.
Rahab, the prostitute of pagan nations, rescued and given a husband who loved God.
Ruth, the foreign widow who would sleep at the feet of a man of God in order to get his attention and secure her future.
Bathsheba, the widow of a godly man who was killed because of the king’s lust for her.
Each of whom would pass her DNA through the generations to Jesus himself.
Countless women had been possessed by demons and prostituting but they flocked to Jesus, washed his feet, dressed his body for burial, found him first alive, entrusted with that message in a day when women were trusted with nothing but childbearing.
Our failure and God’s grace is the theme.
You fit right in here.
He loves to love you.
You, yes, you. You are loved by God. You are valuable. You are so worthwhile.
And he wants you to know today that you do not have to fear or shame or shrink your way into marriage with that man.
God wants to pursue you through marriage because it reflects who Jesus is and what he has done for the people he loves. It would break his heart for you to walk deeper into lies of God’s hate by marrying a man who is nothing like Jesus.
It would break his heart for you to walk deeper into lies of God’s hate by marrying a man who is nothing like Jesus.
You are free, my friend. You are precious. You. are. free.
You do not have to marry him. Please, please don’t.