March 23, 2010
The Wages Of Sin Is Death
[The following events are factual, written by the woman involved. Names have been changed. If you desire contact with the writer, contact Saar Shalom Center.]
Then when lust hast conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:15
The above-mentioned passage is one that I came to understand all too well as a teenager. It seemed that no matter how great the sin was in my life, I always thought that I was basically a 'good person'. I didn't recognize sin for what it was. I always had excuses for my actions. I was the 'victim' rather than the responsible party. My eyes have been opened, thanks to God; for I can recognize that these actions were sin, and I can refuse to repeat them by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is a common story, but is usually kept quiet because of shame. I wrote this so that I would finally have freedom, and so that others who read it would be able to stop sin before it gets going.
I was an insecure child because of many things. Being the youngest of four children and the only female, I was considered spoiled. I can recall my brothers, when almost anything went wrong, saying: "Renee did it. She's the youngest and doesn't know any better; and besides, she's a girl!" They said it as though the definition of girl were any form of loathsome disease. My Dad didn't understand how girls' emotions worked, so he found me to be a constant frustration. "How do I talk to her?" he would ask. "All she ever does is cry!" That seemed true, but I misread his frustration as rejection.
My heart's desire was to play baseball with my Dad and brothers. Instead, I was left behind to do women's work with mother. My brothers' births were planned. I was my parents' little accident. My Mother made it quite evident that she loved me very much. She truly indicated that I was a gift of God. I knew that she really cared about me, but I wanted my father's love and attention so much.
I was very overweight in grade school. This, coupled with hypersensitivity, made me a total mess. I was a fat kid that cried over everything! This was not a popular combination, to say the least. Other children made fun of me with loud comments across the playground like "Hey, Tubby! You gonna' roll home from school today?" Even my brothers joined in the mockery. They were ashamed to identify with me as their sister. I wanted to roll over them and flatten them like a steamroller! But I just cried: my way to escape the hypersensitivity and insecurity. When it came to 'fight or flight', I always chose 'flight'.
When I began to approach the age of junior high, I realized that something in my life had to change. Boys were beginning to be something desirable, rather than the usual nuisance. I figured that I would be entering a new school; I would find new friends; and I needed to be a new me. I starved myself five or six days per week. Although I finally obtained a figure that was considered too skinny by some, I still had a fat, undesirable image of myself. My first 'date' was at the age of 12. Brad's mother picked me up to take me to the movies with her son. We went to see Planet of the Apes. What a bore, but I enjoyed just being out with Brad. I was both nervous and excited. After the movie, we were driven to the local ice cream parlor hangout. On the pretense of a nice walk, I was then escorted to an abandoned office lobby where my date suddenly turned into an octopus. His hands were all over me. After a scuffle, I pushed him away and asked to be taken home. That's when I got my new nice name of Prude. The implication was far from that of respect.
I grew up in the age of mini-skirts, so naturally I was right in style wearing them. I was now 13, the weight I wanted to be, but lonely. I was at my favorite ice cream parlor hangout, this particular summer day, wearing a mini-skirt. I bent over the water fountain to get a drink. There was a young man of the Negro race around five years my senior ordering ice cream nearby. As I bent over the water fountain, he glanced my way. As he started to order his ice cream, he said, "Give me a scoop of legs...I mean, chocolate almond ice cream." I was flattered that someone actually thought that I, the rolly-polly bundle of emotional chaos, had nice legs! I still felt fat, though, despite all the weight-loss. He came over and introduced himself to me as Jack, and requested my telephone number.
I knew Mother demonstrated no prejudice. She worked with underprivileged Blacks, and encouraged us to be friends with them. I did not know if this included dating, however. When Jack called me to ask me out to a school band concert, I received parental approval. What harm could there be in attending such an event?
As I continued dating Jack, I developed a sick dependency on him. I seemed to overlook his intense jealousy, arrogance, and power over me. I was all involved in the idea of 'going steady' and 'having a boyfriend'. I desired to belong...to be loved...to be the main person in someone's life. He didn't allow me to speak to other males. I could accept no ride to school unless he approved: those in his group.
If he threatened to leave me, I would become hysterical, begging and pleading with him to stay. My life was miserable: I was trapped. Jack's friends that were the group were into drugs and alcohol. I started out smoking cigarettes, and was pressured into smoking marijuana. Alcohol was disgusting, but I drank to belong. At times I enjoyed the 'high'; but usually it seemed to intensify my insecurity and fears. Reality hit home after the affects wore off. I managed to not succumb to the hard drugs most of the time, although I tried stronger things on two occasions.
My parents realized that the relationship was a bad one, and forbade me to see him. I had girlfriends who snuck me out of the house so that I could see Jack. I frequently cut classes to go to the nearby duck pond, to talk to Jack. When I would get into trouble at school, the principal would lecture me and ask me, "What's a nice girl doing hanging around people like these?" I really didn't know the answer to that question. On one particular summer's day beneath a shade tree at the duck pond, I was talking to Jack, skipping my P.E. class. The dreaded subject of sex came up. I wanted no part in it, since I had been sexually abused as a child. I can't recall if it was a ploy by Jack, or if I thought of it on my own, but I began to wonder if I could be a wife sexually to a future husband, because of my past. My indecision over time was confronted by Jack's words: "If you don't, I'll be forced to find someone who will." I eventually bought it, hook, line, sinker, bait, fish-pole and all: and planned out the dreaded day.
My first voluntary sexual encounter was painful, awkward, and definitely not desirable to do again. I didn't bleed, as do most first-timers, so my virginity was questioned. I wondered just how far the sexual abuse had gone with me as a child, when I was too little to really understand sex. These thoughts added to my discomfort.
Our relationship went on for five years. I don't recall whether any of the sexual encounters with Jack was pleasurable. They were a way to hold on. Jack mocked our relationship and my devotion to him! I later found out that Jack had relations with just about every one of my friends, including my 'very best friend'. One night while at a party, I had a few drinks for courage, then walked over to my 'best friend' and slapped her across the face for sleeping with Jack. I then turned to Jack and asked him to take me home. Instead he returned with a pinch on my bottom. I was irritated and told him not to do it again. He did it again with a cunning smirk on his face. I told him "Don't do it again, or I'll hurt you." He immediately repeated the gesture. I swung around, and delivered a hefty blow across his back. The next thing I knew, I was backed into a corner, receiving several swift punches to the jaw. I remember slumping to the floor, screaming and crying, more from the pain of realizing that the one I thought I had loved could do such a thing, rather than the actual physical pain. I ended up in an emergency room that night, with my father present. Of course, I lied about how it happened to save Jack's hide. I used the "ran into a door" routine, which no one swallowed, but I stuck to the story. It took five hours for the doctors to reset my jaw. A specialist was called in from out of town to assist, but they finally fixed it before he arrived. When I called Jack later to let him know how I was, the party was still going on. Jack sounded sleepy with my 'best friend's' voice equally as sleepy beside him in the background. I was suspicious as to what was going on, but I didn't want to believe the obvious. I was too proud to admit that my boyfriend was a snake! One might think that anyone would dump this jerk by now, but no! I was a slow learner.
At age 16, I worked in a coffee shop. It was the first real job that I found on my own. I began to daily get suddenly ill at the smell of food. I spent several lunch hours lying down in the locker room with a cool rag over my forehead, trying to overcome the nausea. I had episodes where I almost passed out. I was several weeks late for my period, so I devised a story to get out of the house, to visit the Free Clinic for a pregnancy test. My parents had recently divorced, and Jack was newly drafted into the army. I felt as though everyone in that overcrowded clinic knew my shame; I was overcome with guilt. My worst fears became a reality. The doctor came out smiling and said, "Congratulations. You're going to have a baby." I gasped, "Oh God, NO! I can't have a baby! My Dad would just kill me!" I asked if there could be any mistake. He assured me there was no mistake. My whole world seemed to be crashing down around me. The clinic said they could fly me to a big city over a weekend, for an abortion. I didn't even need parental approval. A few more lies, just a few days: who would be the wiser? But no - as tempted as I was, I couldn't do it. Suppose the doctor who was to perform the abortion was a 'quack butcher' who would leave me to bleed to death? What would it do to my parents? I would eventually have to face them with the truth if there were any complications, although the clinic assured me that it was quite safe. I was in a whirlwind of turmoil. I didn't know what to do, so I did nothing. I went home, and went to bed, trying to sleep. The next morning, I awoke hoping it had been a dream. My queasy stomach confirmed that it was all too real. A few days later, I talked with Jack who was in the armed services, and his mother. She had often told me that her son was no good for me: that I should leave him. I didn't listen. She was, and is a sweet lady who loves the Lord, and she loved me. Now she was telling me not to have the baby. Jack was leaving the decision up to me. What should I do? I didn't believe in abortion. I thought this sick relationship with Jack was love, and I wanted his baby. I had to go one step further and tell my Dad about my pregnancy.
My Mother was gone, and I wasn't even speaking to her. The separation from my Father was a bitter one. I couldn't handle being in the middle, so I chose one over the other. I felt that my Dad was like a child who needed to be cared-for, so I chose to stay with him. I severed the relationship and all contact with Mom, so Dad was all I had. It took every ounce of courage to tell Dad. Would he surprise me and react calmly, or would he become enraged? Stammering, I nervously told him. "What?" he yelled, "you're nothing but a little whore!..." That's all I really heard. The rest I blocked out...
When Dad was finally over the shock, I guess he really handled this tough situation as best as he could. Given the same situation, I don't know how I would have reacted. All I recalled then was the rejection I felt, and the shame in knowing my own father considered me a whore; the guilt. Dad took me to his choice of a doctor for confirmation of pregnancy. The abortion that I was being pressured into accepting was to take place in the best local hospital: a very prominent one. No one was to know why I was there; but many suspected, since I was in the obstetrical unit. The lie that the other rooms were full, such that I had to be placed here, was told. Pride demands such a price!
Before I would be granted a legal abortion, I needed to see two psychiatrists. They had to determine that I was either mentally or physically unable to have a baby before an abortion would be performed. I truly wanted to have the baby, but . . . how could I? I had refused to drink or smoke for the child's sake. How could I now end it all? But what could I offer this life that would be dependent upon me? I talked frankly with the psychiatrists. "The child would be rejected because of its mixed race. My Dad won't help support us. My Mom is gone and I'm not even speaking to her. Jack's family says have the abortion. Jack's in the army, so he's no help. I haven't even finished school - I'm just a kid myself! What kind of life could I provide for this child?" I searched the psychiatrist's face looking for an answer. But the decision was left up to me. "So," the psychiatrist questioned, "does that mean you want the abortion?" I drew in a deep breath and said, "Yes." The psychiatrists told me I had a very clear perspective on the situation beyond what most people would have, given the same situation. They would back me up and help me as much as they could in either direction. With the facts put before me, abortion seemed to be the only answer.
My outward appearance before the abortion was calm and carefree. Inside, my emotions were raging like a storm. How could I do this? Would I be able to live with my decision? Now will anyone ever love and understand me after this awful thing that I am about to do? I didn't have any answers; just a lot of questions.
The operation went well. I was wheeled from recovery into my hospital room. I cried out for something to relieve my excruciating pain. It was finished. The dirty deed had been done. My heart was filled with remorse. I grabbed one of the attendant's hands. "What was it?" I pleaded, "Boy or girl?" He hesitated. "I'm not allowed to say-," he stammered. "Please," I begged, determined not to let go of him, until I got my answer. "A boy," he said reluctantly, "a beautiful baby boy." He forced a smile. I rang for a shot. The emotional and physical pain was more than I could bear. I wanted to get away from it all. I started to sink into self-pity. But then a curious thing happened. I decided not to let my emotions get the best of me. I fixed myself up, and decided to go for a walk down the hall and visit other patients. I was determined not to let the four walls of the room and my self-pity crash down on me. When I returned to my room, I felt refreshed. The other patients seemed to also enjoy my company. Later in the day I would daydream about my unborn child - my son. I wondered what he would have looked like. I supposed he would have been beautiful. I would gaze out of my window to the busy streets below. I felt all alone, and cried, mourning for the death of my son. I loved him, though I never knew him.
After I had recovered and returned home, Jack called from the service. I told him it was over; the abortion was done. "What?" he raged, "you murdered my son? How could you?" I remember my turmoil in response to his remarks. A knife in my heart could not have hurt any worse than those words. He gave me no indication that he wanted this child. He left the decision up to me. Now he was blaming me for the murder of his son. One would think this would be enough for me to break it off with Jack: but no. Now I was sure no one else could ever love me: a murderer.
God certainly knew what He was doing when he intended sex to be saved for marriage. There is a bond between two people who have given their bodies to each other in such an intimate way. With the right person, it would be so special. With the wrong person, it seemed like a trap.
I don't recall how we met in the school office that day, but there he was: Dave. He was blonde-haired and blue eyed: I had admired him from grade school. He was so handsome! Unfortunately, he had never cared for me. He looked different that day; he actually looked happy: happy and peaceful. I hadn't seen this look before; he was more attractive than I had remembered. We exchanged words, and he seemed to be able to look right through me. He said that I looked like I needed a friend, and he knew the right one: Jesus. I had been raised to attend church, but I rebelled and went my own way. I was angry when anyone wanted to talk about God...but not this time. True, I had affection for Dave, but God knew Dave was the right one to lead me to Him. My motives were partially wrong, but God knew the results would be right. I attended a Bible study with him that weekend. I truly enjoyed the study! I was surprised. Dave and I were comfortable with one another. We discussed our likes/dislikes; we discussed his girlfriend and our separate futures. We were all alone in his parent's cottage for a weekend, and for once, a male just enjoyed my company. What a refreshing change!
That weekend Bible study gave me a desire to find out more about this God Who changed the life of a boy that I admired for so long. I don't remember what church I was in, nor with whom I attended. I was around 18 years old now, crying my heart out on the altar of a church I had attended for the first time that night. I asked for God's forgiveness for my sin. I knew my heavenly Father loved me and knew all about me whether my earthly father did or not. Mom and I had made contact, although we had some problems working out our differences. She and my step-Dad were the first two with whom I wanted to share this wonderful news. Something had changed in me that night. I knew that it had taken place; and it was even more than I realized. They were very happy for me.
I had boldness in dealing with Jack from that night on. He no longer played on my emotions with the intensity he once had. His threats and anger produced laughter in me instead of the fear that once gripped me. I knew I wanted out of the relationship, but still I couldn't get out. He threatened suicide. He followed me. He tried to make my life miserable. I finally left my Father to live with my Mom and step-Dad. I told my Father that I wasn't leaving him because I didn't care for him; it was just time to go.
My stepfather had more patience and confidence than any man I had ever known. He feared God, and he obviously loved my Mother and me. I discussed my hopelessness in the situation between Jack and me. When I wanted marriage for the sake of his child, Jack wanted no part of it. Now that I wanted no part of Jack, he wanted marriage. What a farce! But the thought of Jack's threat of suicide took an emotional toll on me. How could I take responsibility for another lost life? I had sacrificed my son's life. Now, with Jack's life on my hands, what could I do? My step-Dad always assured me by saying, "I know you, and I know you'll do the right thing." How could he? "I've done a pretty good job of messing up my life so far; what makes him think I'm going to stop now?" I was frantic. I wanted him to be right, but I was so afraid he was wrong. He was a hard man when it came to talking: tough, yet loving. My Mother was convinced that I would not be responsible if Jack committed suicide. Now all she had to do was convince me! She finally succeeded. Although I had already ended Jack's and my relationship in my heart, the timing wasn't right. I chose to find a way that we could somehow part as friends. I told him how a woman likes to be treated, and how to be a friend. We spent good times together on a different level. No more sex. No more commitment. Then the time came. We had a nice quiet evening together walking, laughing and talking. The evening commenced with my termination of the relationship. "Why?" he asked, when things are going so well? Aren't we getting along better than ever before?" I answered "Yes, and that's the way I want to leave it. Too much has happened between us to patch things up," I continued, "but at least now we can part as friends." I told him how God had changed my life through Jesus. He couldn't deny the changes he saw.
I wish I could say that all my sin and wrong decisions ceased from that moment on, but they did not. I was growing, learning, and changing more each day, but I still had a long way to go. I've still got a long way to go, but I'm looking to the future and whatever else God has in store for me.
Remember my friend whom I slapped for sleeping with my boyfriend? Well, I couldn't leave that the way it stood, either. We talked, and I told her I no longer resented what she had done. I was sorry that she, too, had gotten involved with the sick, evil ways of Jack. I hoped that she would also get freedom.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 8:23.
Original page 1989