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Unequally yoked


unequally yoked
I've carried this burden with me for a long time, and I would like to seek
some Christian counsel on the topic.

A few years ago, I met a girl who was not a believer. I was a lukewarm
Christian at the time and did not share my faith with her. Instead, I
went in the complete opposite direction and the two of us had intimate
relations together.

Some time into the relationship, the realization came upon me that what I
was doing was very wrong and I tried to get out of it, numerous times in
fact, to no avail -- my weak flesh kept me bound to sin.

At some point I realized that drastic measures had to be taken ("If your
right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away."), so I left
the state where she and I lived in, and moved to where I currently reside.

Now, although I do call her regularly, I've not seen her in several months.

Here is my problem now. Before I came into her life, this woman knew
no other man. In fact, in spite of her being an unbeliever, she was a
much better person than I. I was the bad apple that spoiled her.

I told her that it would not be right for us to be married (based on
2 Corinthians 6:14), but she said that since I was the first man to be
with her, it pretty much ruins her chances of being with anyone else.
(She comes from a very conservative culture.) I also read the following
in Exodus 22:16: "If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be
married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall
be his wife."

My problem: how do I reconcile 2 Corinthians 6:14 with Exodus 22:16?

Do I leave her completely because she is not a believer? Do I marry her
because of the Mosaic teaching?

Please help, I am very confused, and have been praying about this for
a long time.

first response

I am one of the paraclete team.  Others will no doubt address your 
concerns with richer insight.  I simply offer you my perception.

For beginners, I think you have begun to learn that God's 
moral law is profoundly true to our humanity.  The principle of 
reserving the sexual relations to marriage has consequences that 
affirm marriage, family and therefore all of human culture.  You have 
found what the Apostle Paul states so clearly in I Cor. 6:16, that 
the sexual relation has the effect of creating a union of two 
persons.  Outside of the lifelong commitment of marriage, it is a 
malignant imitation of the true union that marriage is meant to 
create and sustain.

As for the Old Testament passage you quote, I believe to get the 
whole picture you would need to also compare Ezra chapter 10, in 
which the Israelites were commanded to separate from their pagan 
wives.  Throughout the Old Testament it is clear God was separating a 
nation unto himself, to be ceremonially and morally pure.  It appears 
to me the Exodus 22 passage covers individual relations within the 
nation, while the Ezra passage is directed to God's intent to keep 
Israel separated from the pagan idolatry of other nations.

The moral principles are universal and timeless, and we who are in 
Christ are a "holy nation...God's own people" (I Peter 2:9,10).  God 
is doing something new with us.  We are His Body, and as Paul says in 
I Cor. 6: "..he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with 
him." And "do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy 
Spirit within you, which you have from God?  You are not your own; 
you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body."  You 
cannot erase the past, but because of the unmerited favor of God's 
amazing grace, you can live as one who is one spirit with Christ, and 
glorify God in your body.

In my opinion, you need to turn your attention to the spiritual needs 
of the woman whom you have violated.  Confess to her that you now 
clearly see the wrong that has been done.  Let her know the kind of 
relationship you now desire which can only result from two persons 
united in Christ, drawing upon His Life and Love, and focused on a 
lifestyle of worship and gratitude to Him.  I suggest you read Psalm 
51, and soak your heart in the depth of confession and healing that 
David expresses so eloquently as he prays, "Create in me a clean 
heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me."  God will do 
just that, because He is  wonderfully, bountifully gracious, and 
because He longs to fill you "with joy and gladness."

If you make your position clear to this girl, you may then release 
her to the work of the Spirit in her heart.  Do give her time to 
settle her own relationship with God and experience new life in Him. 
It will help neither her nor you for her to simply agree to follow 
you without her own personal encounter with God's saving grace.

"May God himself, the God of peace, make you holy in every part, and 
keep you sound in spirit, soul, and body, without fault when our Lord 
Jesus Christ comes.  He who calls you is to be trusted; *He will do 
it!* (I Thes. 5:23,24).

Amazed by His grace,

second response

Thank you for writing the Paraclete Forum. We are a team of men and 
women working together, so you may well hear from others on our team.

Taking this girls' virginity from her is a serious matter. She is 
dishonored and so are her parents. Under the law of Moses you could 
be subject to the death penalty, or at least under strict obligation 
to marry the woman. However, we do not now live under this Old 
Covenant but under the New Covenant which changes us from the inside 
out--all accompanied by lavish grace and much which we do not deserve.

On the surface of the matter, I personally tend to feel you ought to 
seriously consider marrying this woman and providing for her. She may 
well become a Christian, but even it your marriage were less than 
ideal you have taken responsibility for this woman and her future 

There are other factors: her willingness to be your sexual partner in 
the first place, the length of time you and she were involved 
together, her present situation, her family. You have misrepresented 
God to her by your life style and that means it will now be harder 
for her to trust another man, and harder for her to consider Jesus as 
the one she should give her total allegiance to.

God is not a legalist, in one sense you can take God's forgiveness 
and move on. But since others have been affected I think you should 
do as much as you can to bring closure this is chapter of your life.

I believe this is one of those difficult situations you ought not to 
sort out alone. Can you find a godly pastor or well-recommended 
Christian marriage counselor to talk this through with? There are 
probably good reasons why marriage is not advisable, the opposite 
path which I have suggested above. Some brothers in the Christian 
community who know you well could be a terrific resource--and we all 
need to be connected in one way or another to the Body of Christ in 
our local area.

In this country today we are near a state of total family breakdown 
and rampant sexual promiscuity of all kinds. This is intolerable to 
God and He must inevitably judge our nation severely. Life is not 
about our own personal, individual quests for happiness. It is about 
serving the Lord Jesus Christ and living self-giving lives that 
please Him in the family, the church, the world.

These are my brief thoughts, some ideas for you to think and pray 
about. God is with you--He knows how to handle the biggest problems 
that come our way regardless of the causes.


third response

I have read your email to the forum.  I have thought and pondered offering
some additional thoughts. While I think and pray about your apparently most
heart felt appeal for some help I would like to ask a question to help me frame
some of my thoughts.

Reading your email, seeing your name, observing your good knowledge of the
Mosaic law all suggests that you are of Jewish background and that the young
woman you speak of coming from a conservative culture is most probably from
an orthodox, ultra- orthodox of even more rigid Jewish societal structure.
Is this intuition on my part correct?

Please let me know, it has some influence on how I might offer some views.

fourth response

Earlier I asked you about your background and you graciously clarified.  It
helped.  as I had suggested to you I was praying and thinking of how to
frame a constructive response to you in light of the responses to you from
others.  I had - in my view - additional value to add.
However, before responding I asked a very dear friend of mine (a woman) to
consider the possible additional input to your appeal - apart from just
prayer. Well, in the scripture which you are obviously conversant in it
offers, ".in many counselors there is wisdom".  So - a good thing, but it
does not mean, in my view, that "lowest common denominator rules", rather in
many somehow valid insight surfaces.  After listening to my friend, I felt
what she had to offer you was not only distinctly different than my
"incremental" views, but very direct, real and biblical. I hereby quote her:

-begin quote-
You have asked your question with genuineness of heart. I can see in your
words the need to make amends for the sin between you and the young woman.
But do you now or have you ever loved her? From the Christian context, I
would argue not so. You each took from the other to meet physical needs for
a time. You have finished taking from her physically, but now in continuing
to call her, you take from her emotionally. Calling encourages her to dwell
on you and the lost relationship, further handicapping her potential for
recovery. Why not ask yourself this hard question:  Why do I want her to
continue to think about me? Ask God to show you what your motives are.

It may well be the first truly kind and loving thing you do for this young
woman is to ask her forgiveness in sincerity and sever your relationship.
The consequences of sin are painful to deal with. Some make permanent life
scars, but God is faithful to take our worst mistakes and create beauty. Why
not let Him take control of this relationship.

So, for your consideration.  I trust that you see, irrespective if you
agree, that you made an appeal and many have responded with genuine effort,
time and prayer.  Now you and the Lord must chart the course.
-end quote-