by Pamela J.B. Agaloos
Being sexually pure has always been difficult, even with godly men. Both Roman Catholic priests and Evangelical leaders have been under pressure to uphold sexual purity. There are newspaper accounts riddled with stories of preachers, priests, and leaders caught in sexual molestation, fornication, adultery, and homosexual acts. Being human is no excuse to allow one’s self to sin. If the people we respect hide their weaknesses from the world, how much more us?
Most Christians would at first promise to keep themselves from any form of sexual immorality, but the reality of this is that it is difficult. It is difficult to follow Biblical standards, especially when a relationship seems too good to end, when it makes you feel good, and when it feels right.
At one point in his life, tall, handsome, and eligible Michael* (name changed) refused to surrender a relationship he knew was wrong. He had gone beyond his own limits and found himself deep into a relationship that he struggled to keep. “I worked hard to make it right,” he said. He remembers that the willingness and the desire to make the relationship right and pleasing to the Lord were there. He would promise to himself that he would make that relationship clean, and that he and his girlfriend would start anew. Yet in spite of that, he would be lost in his passions, and all his effort and promises were thrown out the window. Walang pakialaman, Michael would say (We didn’t care).
How he got to that point is hard to trace. He was raised all his life in a Christian household and went to church every Sunday in Diliman where he grew up. He could not remember if he backslid as a result of his actions, or if his actions were the very things that caused him to backslide. Feeling the guilt of things he had done, he stopped doing the things he was once familiar with: praying, reading his Bible, and going to church. He didn’t feel worthy to do these things.
Michael’s love for God never faded, but he realized later on that what was absent was his fear of God. Nevertheless, he still went to church. In spite of everything, he found familiarity in going back to church but not as regularly as before. Michael thinks that it must have been ten years when he roamed churches, visiting different congregations every Sunday, content with being a visitor or a mere attendee.
“Church was just for comfort,” he says. “An assurance that I’m still okay.” Yet that assurance was not enough. For ten years, Michael lived a life that never went beyond just “okay,” and he contented himself with going through the motions. “Kung baga…pasang awa.” The quality of his life in those years amounted to “barely passing” if described in academic terms. Regarding his love for God during his time, he says that yes, he did love God. But it was a misunderstanding of that love that brought him to his downfall.
Michael mentions the book Driven by Eternity by renowned author, John Bevere, where he says that the effort we make into the quality of our lives makes a lasting effect into eternity. Michael realized that he was not living the way God desired him to, and that he was wasting his life on menial things and settling on plain existence. It was as good as living day to day without giving life and existence much meaning.
However, in 2006, his wandering ended. He had an encounter with God that led him to want to be in His arms and to allow God an active presence in his life. Michael rededicated himself to God and despite being baptized in his home church in Diliman, he proceeded to be baptized again to symbolize his spiritual life as being renewed and revived.
“Life is short” is a saying that Michael holds on to. He is now active in church. Being active in ministry gives him accountability, a big help that reminds him not to go down the old road of sexual compromise. Accountability means you answer to people above you and below you for your actions. While it does not necessarily mean keeping you on your toes, it means that your life is in plain view of everyone in your sphere of influence. There is transparency involved and a responsibility to live the way of life that should be lived according to God’s standards.
When asked if he is still single, he says “Yes, I am very single.” As eligible as he is for a new relationship, Michael believes that this current status is a consequence from the ten years of wandering in the carnal wilderness. That, and he is still waiting for the right woman. He is in no rush to jump into a relationship, really, unless God says no.
This article was written in 2007. Michael is now happily married with one child.