I have a lovely daughter who loves the Lord and does her best to bless the lives of others. Recently she met an RM who was addicted to pornography for many years. He is clean for the first time in his adult life and wants to pursue a relationship with her. He is a bright young man with many good qualities. My first instinct is to tell her to run away as fast as she can. On the other hand, what good is Christ’s atonement if people are unable to repent and change their lives? Thoughts?
So many times we react to other’s sins as though they were committed against us personally. So many times we mentally write off people who fall victim to temptation as ‘incurable’. Before I go any further, picture in your mind everything you know factually about the young man. Everything that you know is but a mere fraction of what Christ knows about that man. Now I want to ask you a question. Do you think Christ has written him off, or would encourage prospective spouses to ‘run away as fast as [they] can’?
It is true that pornography is a deviously persistent addiction. However, knowing that as you do, remember that he has risen to stand against that addiction. Clearly he hasn’t written himself off. Rather the opposite, he has turned to his faith in Christ to overcome quite possibly one of the most difficult addictions we face in this life. Rather than seeing his life as problematic, I look at the young man and see someone who refused to give up, and were he my own son, I would be extremely pleased with his determination and faith.
Now I want to put myself in your shoes for a moment. I would sit my daughter down and have a very calm discussion about the young man. I would ask her how comfortable she is with him, knowing what she knows about his struggles. As she seeks to help others, would she be willing to help the young man shoulder his continuing battle against his addiction? Would she remain positive and supportive of him in the wake of a possible relapse? These are the real questions that need to be asked.
The young man’s past is what it is, and there’s no changing it, however he has changed himself to leave the past where it is. If he is to be ultimately successful, he cannot have too much positive support around him to maintain his good standing before Heavenly Father. I see your daughter’s possible involvement in his life as a very good, and necessary, support against a possible relapse.
One final gentle reminder; we are not to sit in judgement of each other, that is not our duty. None of us are pure and clean from sin enough to have that calling. I understand the social stigma in the church today about pornography, and regarding the material itself, it cannot be overstated. At the same time, those who fall to such temptations are never to be looked down upon or discarded in any sense. As you have stated, the atonement provides a path to full and complete forgiveness for all sin, and we all have need of that cleansing.
I say let her decide for herself whether she wants a relationship with the young man, and encourage her to be prepared to help him so long as he maintains his will to stay free of his past weaknesses. Addictions of any type are difficult to master, and there may well be times he falters here and there. The more good people he has around himself, the smaller and shorter the relapses will be. If she is willing to help take on that fight, I see no reason she shouldn’t become more involved in his life, If that’s what she wants to do.