Courageous Confessions: For Those Who've Been Sinned Against

If I could go back to the night he confessed the number, I would throw my hand over his mouth. I didn’t need to know. I should’ve never told him I did. That one’s on me.

To be fair, he didn’t just blurt it out. He asked me if I was sure I wanted to know. Of course I did. How bad could it be hearing the truth about how many girls he’d slept with before meeting me?

Turns out, very bad. Not because the number was so crazy (it wasn’t) but because the number didn’t match mine. I was a senior in college and had never let a boy kiss me, let alone round the bases. The glaring discrepancy was all Satan needed to wedge lies in the cracks of my unfledged faith.

Be jealous. Get angry. Feel foolish for waiting, stupid girl.    

The number I naively thought was no big deal taunted me through our courtship. It harassed me through our engagement and, boy, did it feed all manner of insecurity in the early months of our marriage.

He’s comparing you to all of them. Can’t you see you’re not enough?

When the post-pregnancy pap smear showed pre-cancerous cells, I stared at the wall, bewildered. The likely culprit? An STD my husband had given to me from one of them.

Dammit, Jesus. Why? I did what you said. I kept myself pure, and this is my reward? Excuse me while I skip today’s quiet time to have part of my cervix removed.

Wait. Don’t go. You say you’re suffering because of another’s sin?

Yes. It’s so messed up.

Tell me about it. I’ve carried the same weight.

You have?

Loving a sinner comes with a price, sweet girl. Pay it.

Forgive him?

Seventy times seven.

But how could he do this to me?

Well, technically he did it to me.


Forgive him.

But I might have cancer.

Forgive him.

But it still hurts.

Forgive him.


Like I did.

Will you help me?

All you had to do was ask.


Dear Sinned Against,

No amount of right living prior to marriage can keep hurt out. When you marry a man, you marry a sinner. Paying lip service to 1 Corinthians 13 in a white dress at the altar is easy. Living it, line by line, takes a steady resolve, whether your sexual histories match or not.

Forgiving my husband for the physical and emotional suffering I experienced because of his past sexual sin came by staking my flag in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 and refusing to leave until the darkness fled. When lies grew loud and pain churned within, the passage’s call to kindness, humility, grace and perseverance hushed the ruckus until only Jesus’ voice remained.  

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.” 

Forgiveness is possible, sweet girl. Keep loving your way toward it.  

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post concludes our Courageous Confessions series. Thank you so much, beautiful contributors, for sharing your stories with us. Thank you, dear readers, for listening and offering so much understanding and grace. This one thing I know: We are better together. I love you. -Bo

Whitney Parnell1 Comment