My HIV Results..
Since my period of rebellion back in 2007, I've struggled with the state of my health as it related to STDs. Two to three times a week I asked myself, "What if I have HIV?” “What if I have given my husband AIDS?” “What would I tell my children?” Fear plagued me. It plagued me because I knew that there are REAL consequences for the sins that we commit. I knew that God, in ways that we do not understand, could allow me to have an STD. It wouldn't be because He's less faithful or good, but because He's righteous. Scripture tells us that He chastens those that He loves. He doesn't specify how the chastening will take place, but He does promise that it'll happen, and more importantly He does it because He loves us (Heb. 12:5-11). Huh?!?!! Could it be that the consequences of my sin could result in me having an STD that would cause misery in my body, or worse cut my life short all in the name of God allowing it to be so (1 Jn. 5:16-17)? Yes! He’s sovereign. He’s sovereign in the good and in what we consider bad.
Repentance of sin restores us to God (2 Cor. 7:9-10) but it doesn't mean that our repentance cancels out the consequences of the sin (Gal. 6:7-8, Prov. 22:8, Hos. 10:12-13). This continues to be true in my life as I continue to struggle with the effects of past sin. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit and a sincere willingness to honor God in every facet of my life am I able to resist the desires of my flesh and respond in a way that glorifies God more times than not. Don’t be fooled though. Your girl gets slammed with temptation hard! My thought life can get real repulsive and go from zero to sixty like the speed of light. Apart from my struggles just being the norm as I war with my flesh in that Rom. 7 kind of way, my current struggles have a whole lot to do with poor past decisions that resulted in hideous sin.
Ok, let’s get back on track. I finally decided to face the music of my sin of sexual immorality that I committed after marriage and after receiving Christ as Lord. Details of my appointment back in May can be read here. Yes, contrary to popular belief and to dispel the falsehood of modern-day Pharisees, Christians still sin! We are not to “practice” sin and there is a big difference. By biblical definition, one who willfully practices sin is not of God (1 Jn. 3:7-10). It was time to deal with the consequences of my sin so I made the appointment. Let me give you some context to what I had done. I had unprotected sexual intercourse with several men in a city that was in the top rankings for having the highest STD|HIV infection rate. In an article dated March 9, 2012, a Johns Hopkins study found that Baltimore is a HIV Hotspot with a “sky-high” HIV rate. The article states that the most vulnerable population was black women. It further states, “The study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers finds the number of new HIV cases in Baltimore is five times higher than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates for urban black women.” It’s utterly crazy the risks that we take for the sake of momentary pleasure.
I was told that I would receive the results from my blood work via the mail within the week whether they were positive or negative. If any of my STD results were positive, I’d also be called to come in to begin the “next steps” process. I received an envelope from my doctor’s office in the mail. I hadn’t checked my voice-mail messages in the past week as I had been inundated with work, family life, and ministry events so I could possibly have a call from my doctor’s office. I would normally wait to get settled into the house before I open the mail but this couldn't wait. I took a very deep breath, clinched the back of my jaw, and with my heart beating fast and my stomach tightening, I opened the envelope and paused. In that moment my breath escaped me and tears began to flow heavily down my cheeks. I rested my head on headrest and just continued to cry. I kept looking down at the paper to see if I had read this correctly. Flashbacks of hotel rooms and the men that I had slept with flooded my mind and I just shook my head as I continued to cry. I had been spared. The line where HIV was stated said “Non-Reactive.” In the summary it read, “STD tests are negative.” My God who is so abundantly rich in mercy had spared me from suffering physical consequences of my sin. He didn't just spare me. He spared my family.
While I have been spared from the physical consequences, I still underwent spiritual and emotional consequences. My sin destroyed my communion with God (Isa. 59:2). It shattered my witness as a believer (1 Pet. 2:11-12,15,16). I was haunted by my sexual acts being replayed over and over in my head. I was depressed, suicidal, isolated, confused, and just all around lost. My marriage and family took a devastating blow. An engagement was broken off. The wake of sin is just disastrous.
There is one overarching lesson that I've walked away with as it relates to this whole experience: Don't play Russian roulette with the grace of God. This experience taught me on a very real level that there is protection in obedience. Decisions made that glorify God seldom result in acts that dishonor Him.
In closing, I pray that you all have been challenged by what I've shared. Don't be led to believe that coming to Christ completely eradicates all of our past sin's consequences. While the blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary paid for our sins in full before God (eternally), there are still temporal (earthly) consequences that we must face when we sin against God (Gal. 6:7-8). If you have fornicated in any facet with or without protection, I encourage you to go get tested for all STD's if you haven't done so. You owe it to yourself and others to know the true state of your health. Click here to find a find a STD testing center near you or call and make an appointment with your doctor right away. For those who are living with an STD, don't lose hope! You have an experience that the world needs to hear. Share how the sin you committed that resulted in you contracting the STD has affected your life, point people to the Gospel, and by any and all means use your experience for God's glory!