Question:

I went through a rough childhood. I was molested and all that. I was baptized one Sunday in a church when I was 11 because the pastor said that's the only way I could take part. But afterward, she said my sibling and I are holding the church back, so we stop going to church.

At the age of 17, I was baptized in the Adventist Church because I made the decision that if I didn't take this step I would never be close to God. But few weeks after I end up having sex and then living with a man. My dad brought me to court saying I should choose to leave the man or, at least, leave his house, but because the man was sending me to school, I chose to stay with him. However, I still ended up in the same type of abusive relationship, both physical and mental.

I've been through 11 guys before I reached the age of 21. I was 23 before I got rebaptize. I was with a guy the year before but he ended the relationship.  A few days before the baptism he forced me to have sex. He held me down in his car. I tried fighting him but gave in because I loved him still. I was rebaptized in the Adventist Church again. I didn't feel l was truly ready because the elder kept pushing baptism on me. I guess that's why I did it, but I am not blaming anyone.

My questions are:

  1. When I am truly ready to go back to Jesus do I need to rebaptize again?
  2. Or do I need to just go on my knees and beg God for forgiveness and then I take communion as a rebaptism?
  3. What's wrong with me? Every time I go back to church, I end up leaving it again because I got into a relationship and had sex. Then I feel shame or guilty that I did, so I hardly go to church.
  4. Why can't I ever find a guy that will truly commit to me and me alone?
  5. I must be possessed by a sex demon or something.
  6. But there's a problem I think. I know I like females, so I guess that as soon as the feeling for females rises within me I go into a relationship with some guy. But the worst the relationship becomes, the more I want to be with a female and the feeling is getting stronger. What do I do?

After being baptized again, well, I backslid again. I still go to church but because of the virus, I kind of stay home and watch services online.

I need you to tell me the plain truth. No sugar coating it.

Answer:

I'm sorry to hear about your childhood. No child should endure sexual abuse. The proper thing would be to put the past behind you since it can't be changed, but in subtle ways, you've dragged your past with you.

When a child is sexually abused, strange things start happening to their thinking when puberty hits. I suspect that it comes from the dilemma of fully realizing what all the sexual things that happened really meant, knowing that they were wrong, but at the same time remember that some aspects of it felt pleasant. Worse, most child predators convince the child that she is responsible for what he was doing to her. The predator does this to keep the child from revealing his sins to authorities. But, as I said, an adolescent can process all these conflicting thoughts and emotions. Different children act out in different ways.

My guess is that you turned toward religion to get the evil to stop, but it didn't. Instead, you were asked to leave. When you were older, you tried again. I don't know if you met the guy at church or not, but he gave you the attention that you were craving and made you feel protected -- at least at first. So you left home and willingly had sex with the man because you thought that was what was needed to keep a guy interested in you. But over time the man showed his true character and you left.

You bounced from guy to guy, always looking for security and love. Each time you used sex as a way to keep the guy, but you soon figured out that was all the guy wanted. I'm guessing you told yourself that you weren't good enough or that you were doing something wrong, and that the next guy would be different.

Along the way, you started wondering if the problem is actually with men, so you started thinking things would be different if you had a homosexual relationship with another woman. You know it is wrong, so when the thoughts get strong, you find a guy and have sex with him to prove to yourself that you aren't a homosexual, but the cycle repeats.

Eventually, you decided to give religion a try again. You were hoping that baptism would remove all your haunting memories and make you into a good person. However, the rape just before your baptism made you doubt if your baptism was real. You managed to stay good for about a year, but you find yourself back in bed with yet another guy.

This is what I saw in your note. I'm sure I've gotten some aspects wrong, but I'm going to assume that I am close to correct about the overall situation.

The past can't be changed. But you can change. That is something the Adventists are not teaching you. Salvation is the result of several things working together (see What Saves a Person?) Let's focus on some of the things you need to do. Faith is a key element, but you can't really believe in something that you know almost nothing about. "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). You need to know what Christianity is really like from God's own words and along with that, you need to understand why the sins you are committing, such as fornication, are wrong. Along the way, you need to get a balanced view of your life, such as not taking responsibility for the sins of other people. You've done enough sins on your own. In particular, what happened to you as a child is the fault of the creep who did it to you. The rape was the fault of the rapist. You can change what you do. You can't change what happened to you. Once you understand, then you have the foundation to radically change. "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter" (II Corinthians 7:10-11).

It is after repentance that you are ready to commit yourself fully to the Lord. Baptism is the point where you leave your past behind and start a new life (Romans 6:3-7). This doesn't mean temptations stop or that your past no longer haunts you. It means the past no longer has a hold over you if you don't let it. If you are interested in true, simple Christianity (see We Are Simply Christians Without Being Members of Any Denomination. You Can Be Too!), then let me know what town you are near and I'll try to find a congregation near you to check out.

There is an old saying that what a person catches depends on the bait he uses. I strongly suspect that you use sexuality to get a guy's attention and then use intercourse in a vain attempt to keep him around. As a result, you get bums who are not interested in anything other than sex. You need to have respect for yourself. A true Christian sees herself as someone through whom God's presence shines out, just like the Temple in the Old Testament once did. You don't pollute God's temple. "Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body" (I Corinthians 6:18-20). Have respect for God and in so doing have respect for yourself. The only man who deserves you is your future husband and even he can't have you until after he commits to you in marriage.

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