Here is a part of a not very friendly anonymous comment I got to my post about dressing modestly during the summer:
"Just because you were sexually impure (Anna's note: I replaced the original expression with a milder one) a couple of years ago doesn't mean you have to go to the other extreme of only swimming when other people can't see you. Do you really think you can erase the past and become a pure and modest woman again?!"
First, I must say I'm grateful for two things: comment moderation and developing thicker skin. But I won't waste precious time complaining about rudeness. Instead, let us touch the issue that was brought up here.
I know many lovely, modest, pure, godly ladies (and gentlemen) who weren't always what they are today. The society we were raised in, foolish decisions we made in our youth… I mean, really – show me one person who has never made a mistake in his or her life, and I will stand up and applaud. Because this just doesn't happen, folks. We all have moments in our past we are not very proud of.
Those of you who have read my post, "Reclaiming the Gift of Chastity", know my story. I'm exactly one of those people who made grave mistakes in the past. I was ignorant, worldly, immodest and threw away the beautiful gift God gave me – my purity. When I realized how wrong I've been, I went through the following process:
1. I acknowledged my mistakes and admitted there are no excuses to my behavior. I prayed.
2. I resolved I'm never going to make the same mistake again. I prayed.
3. I started working on myself in hope to become the woman I want to be: godly, wise, modest, chaste. I prayed. I'm praying until this day.
Do I think I can change the past? Of course not. Do I want to change the past? I used to think along those lines some time ago, but it didn't help me. I'd much rather focus on the positive – that my life has changed, and that God in His grace taught me so much through my mistakes. I grew. I'm past the self-flagellation stage, and I feel I have gained something truly valuable.
I've heard something very wise – that when we do something wrong, the devil tries to lure us twice: before and after we do it. When we're tempted, he whispers to us about how nice and cool everything is going to be and how it's not bad at all and we should follow him. When we realize we've made a mistake and we regret it, he says, "once a sinner, always a sinner. There's no way you can repair what you did, so you might as well continue".
To those of you who might be struggling at this very moment, please understand that thinking along these lines is destructive. Wallowing in misery and hating ourselves only leads us to sin more. God doesn't want that. He wants us to regret, but not to be miserable. Someone who used to be a thief or a liar cannot undo what he did, but he can become a different person – someone who isn't capable of stealing or lying anymore. A woman who once rejected the precious treasure of chastity cannot turn back time either, but she can regain her dignity and yes, she can become pure, chaste and modest again. Our God is good and kind. He wants to heal. He wants to forgive. Let Him do the work on your heart.