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PUNISHMENT
Jul 9, 1997

I became a Christian a few months ago, and I am in a steady relationship with a girl. However, a few nights ago I messed around with another girl and I feel horrible about it. Also, I may have exposed myself to HIV although she says she was negative. Now I know I will be punished because God chastises those he loves, but I don't want to die of aids. I terribly regret what I did, and I feel so guilty. Can you help?

Response from Rev. Pieters

I challenge one of your statements, that "God chastises those he loves." I simply don't believe that God punishes people with disease. Please read my article, "HIV/AIDS: Is It God's Judgment?", which is published here at The Body. HIV/AIDS is not God's punishment. There are many Christians who would not agree with your assumptions about God. God does not use HIV to punish those who may believe they have "misbehaved" sexually. God loves us, and forgives us when we have openly and honestly confessed the ways in which we have fallen short.

Don't waste time on guilt. God forgives you, and you can forgive yourself.

If you're really worried that you may have been exposed to HIV, then get tested. Protect your girlfriend by always using a latex condom. Learn from this experience. Make some decisions about how you're going to conduct yourself, and stick to them. If and when you do make mistakes, remember that the God we know through Jesus Christ is a loving and forgiving God, and will be there with you through whatever challenges life throws at you.



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