What should a Christian do if they've contracted a sexually transmitted disease (STD)?

The earthly consequences of our sin often remain and take a heavy toll, even for Christians. Sexually transmitted disease (STD) originates in sexual immorality—either yours or that of someone you have had sex with. The consequences of that sin are numerous and can be far-reaching.

It should be noted that not everyone who contracts a STD engaged in sexual immorality. Sometimes a spouse will contract such a disease from an unfaithful spouse. These consequences become larger and more difficult to deal with—feelings of betrayal, anger, grief, rage, hurt, sadness, and depression are often added to the medical implications of the disease. As the spouse seeks medical treatment, they should also seek a biblical counselor to guide them through feelings and decision-making. Regardless of whether the marriage is restored, forgiveness is crucial. We are freed when we forgive those who sin against us (2 Corinthians 2:10–11).

The Bible tells us that sex and any associated behavior should be confined to a marriage between one man and one woman (1 Thessalonians 4:3, Colossians 3:5, Hebrews 13:4). When a Christian has sex beyond these bounds, whether it results in a STD or not, the first step in response is to repent. Repentance is admitting our choice is not in line with God's wishes for us, agreeing with God about it, and determining to change direction with His help.

Still, the consequences of our sin often remain. However, God can use even the consequences of our sin for good (Romans 8:28). We should not bow to the temptation of feeling condemned by God as it is His grace, not our performance, that saves us, even when we make sinful choices (2 Corinthians 5:21). In Christ, there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). Though effects of our sin may remain, He has paid the penalty for us. We can turn the symptoms of the STD into reminders and opportunities to thank God for His mercy and forgiveness.

As a model, look to Joseph, who was thrown into a pit by his brothers to die, then sold into slavery, and wrongly imprisoned (Genesis 37). He believed God would continuously be with him and turn his brothers' evil intentions into good (Genesis 50:20). In fact, Joseph was eventually able to save his entire family from starvation because of the political clout he was able to acquire through trusting in God.

The consequences of sin can also serve as a reminder to others of the eternal wages of sin—death (Romans 6:23) and also of God's offer of restoration (Romans 5:20). Our choices after sin and in light of its consequences can serve to define who we are and show who God is and what He desires from us.

Sin has produced hurt and suffering since the fall of man in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:17; Romans 5:12). Consequences of sexual sin are no worse, spiritually, than the consequences of other sin. It is true that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7) and also that God is merciful and gracious, and able to use everything to accomplish His good purposes. God does not overlook sin, but deals with it directly; He forgives us of our sins because of the sacrifice of Christ. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Repenting of our sin, accepting God's forgiveness, and living in light of the truth of His grace is an appropriate response to any sin we may commit. We can ask for God's help in enduring the consequences of our sin, and gratefully walk in the truth of His lasting love and encompassing forgiveness.

Related Truth:

What is a biblical level of intimacy before marriage?

Should a couple who gets pregnant before marriage get married?

What are biblical steps to restore a marriage?

How do I receive forgiveness from God?

How can a Christian overcome the guilt of past sins?

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