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I want to forgive myself but don't know how
Apr 11, 2012

Hello Rev. Brown, Three weeks ago, I went to Amsterdam with two friends. We went to the redlight district and for some reason I hired a sex worker. We had protected sex, but I felt like it was so empty. The worst part about it was that next tuesday i was going to meet up with this girl who teaches my lindy hop class. She is so pretty but at Amsterdam I saw the sex worker and just thought that my lindy hop instructor wont like me anyway, so I did it; i couldn't even finish with her cause I felt so bad and in danger while i was doing it for 30 seconds but i put myself at high risk. When I met up with my lindy hop instructor the next tuesday we actually hit it off really well, it is possible that she might like me, she's always trying to make me speak German with her and have me laugh or cheer up because I'm so serious all the time, but i felt so guilty the whole time i was with her, i felt like a worm.I have always had low self esteem growing up, i felt like i never deserved love, or was just too afraid of having it from fear of losing it. And now I might actually have HIV, I have been having some symptoms like small aching joints, and small jolts of head aches right after Amsterdam. I'm just starting to realize some beauty in myself now that i convinced myself i have the disease. I've been having these nightmares were I'm in a dark street and these demons are chasing after me. I got the PCR test 11 days later that could detect the actual virus as early as 5-8 days later, but it's not conclusive. I've been praying to God to forgive me for my sins at Amsterdam every morning and night. I am even developing small rashes on my face, they don't look like HIV rashes because they're so small and not bumpy or full blown, I just found out skin rashes and fatigue are two side affects of the General anxiety disorder treatment i've been taking for the last week and a half. I'm very scared because I'm alone in this country i'm a 20 year old college student studying abroad in Germany and have no real close ones that I can't talk to face to face only on skype. When I went for the results of the PCR test I prayed to God before I went in the building I said "be with me God". When I got out with the negative result I had the biggest smile on my face,like I had another chance at life and i realized how beautiful and fragile it is and how much success and memories I can make of it but then learned that PCR tests are not conclusive. I lost that smile instantly, I don't know if I can go through the fear of going for another test 3-6 months later. Regardless of what happens, I want to take something from this whole experience. I want to walk closer to God. I have this whole illusion of really helping people and volunteering in hospitals when i get back to the states in August. Just helping people who are ill because I now realize how much good I'd be doing and how there are people that feel so alone and hopeless right now that i can try to comfort by just being their friends . I don't feel like I can do this if I find out I'm positive, I'd go into a deep depression that I think I'd never get out of. I know this is one of those life defining moments where God tests my courage, and maturity i just don't know if I'm up for the challenge of getting over the fear. I read some of your older responses and you said that God forgives those who wanted to be forgiven no strings attached, I believe that too. I just can't forgive myself for some reason, I feel so weak for giving in. Do you think I should still even try to talk to my lindy hop instructor after what i've done, am I worth it?. I don't want to live like this anymore I want to really look for love, not even just in a girlfriend or wife but love for humanity and seeing the natural good that all humans have because they were created by God and I want to find love for myself. Please tell me your thoughts Rev. Brown. And thank you so much for what you do.

Response from Rev. Brown

Dear friend: The key to forgiveness is in allowing yourself to be released from the guilt that is created when we don't meet the standards we set for ourself, and the standards that God has. How we recieve forgiveness and are released from guilt is to keep at the forefront of our mind that God loves us no matter what, and that God loves us for who we are period. As for the relationship question it seems as though you and your instructor are hitting it off and I would encourage you to take your time and continue to get to know her, as it could blossom into a great friendship or relationship. I would also encourage you to go and get an HIV test which will relieve some of the stress that it seems that you are experiencing. HIV does not have any tangible signs or symptoms. The only time that individuals have what we call symptoms are when the HIV has progressed to such a point that a person acquires an opportunistic infection due to a depleted immune system and they recieve an AIDS diagnosis. So it is my hope that you get tested so you would know your status, and whether you are negative or positive you would when making decisions think about all the consequences before just acting as it is vitally important when there are things like HIV, and other sexually transmitted disease that can completely change the course of our lives. It is my hope that as you embrace daily God's love for you that the guilt of what has occured is removed and you are free to enjoy any and all relationships that you pursue in the future.

Please help me overcome my anxiety disorder and put my risk into perspective.

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