The True Cost of Love // 愛的真正代價
How much of yourself are you willing to give in exchange for attention from the opposite sex? Our dear sister Ada* found out that it was too much of the wrong thing – even costing a life. But she also discovered that God’s patient love and grace comes priceless and sets her free.
Some say we all have our own vices or addictions; an inner weakness hidden from others or a hurt we try to numb by indulging in pleasure. Like a heroin addict constantly craving for the next euphoric high, I was addicted to the high of being pursued and desired by men. Growing up as the only child in a conservative Christian Chinese family in Hong Kong, love only existed in the pages of romance novels or on silver screens. The critical words from my parents and relatives were so deeply ingrained in my heart that I grew up to be a young woman who did not know her true beauty or worth. Desperate to experience love and intimacy, I was terribly afraid I would remain alone forever if I didn’t take matters into my own hands.
After my first relationship ended during the winter of 2009, I simply couldn’t bear the thought of being alone and was so desperate to jump into the next relationship that I embarked on a journey into the wilderness searching for any man who would want me. I signed up for online dating sites and was amazed at the amount of attention I was getting from guys. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was worthy to be wanted, even though it didn’t take long for me to realize most men were pursuing me with ulterior motives. Still, my desire to be wanted was so strong that I would rather wake up next to a man I barely knew than go to sleep alone in my bed. My mission to find love quickly became a self-destructive cycle of endless disappointments and heartbreaks. I became terribly ashamed of my promiscuous self but didn’t have the courage to be alone. I was stuck.
After I graduated from college in 2011 and moved back to Hong Kong, I started dating an ex-colleague. And just two short months later, my worst nightmare came true: I was pregnant. Without the slightest hesitation, I decided to have an abortion without informing my parents or anyone in my family. It seemed to be the one and only logical solution at the time. I visited a government clinic for the procedure, which turned out to be the most horrific 15 minutes of my life. With only minimal local anesthesia administered, I screamed helplessly on the operating chair as I endured the worst pain I have ever experienced. Still, after the ordeal was over, I was proud of my decision and continued to live life as if it never happened.
That fall, I attended the Alpha Course and gave my life to Jesus. However, God’s teachings on purity didn’t make sense to me and I refused to obey Him. I continued to indulge in a sexual relationship with my ex-boyfriend until we ended our relationship in early 2013. During that time, I was finally lovingly convicted by God when I heard a brother’s testimony in Alpha, where I was serving as a helper. He spoke about how his ex-girlfriend became pregnant and the immense guilt that caused him to surrender to God and His forgiveness. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I listened. I felt God telling me that I, too, needed to ask for His forgiveness – not because He wanted to punish me, but because He wanted me to receive healing.
The following week at Alpha, another brother spoke about how his romantic relationship was transformed when he decided to pursue sexual purity. I felt God chose this brother to speak that week just for me. I was both convinced and convicted that God’s ways are truly wiser than mine and His commands were given to us out of love. I repented for my past and made a commitment to pursue God-honoring purity.
Besides confessing to God, I also knew I had to confess to a Godly sister for prayer and support. Though I had attended church and fellowship regularly for almost two years, I hadn’t told anyone at church about my abortion and sexual sins as I was afraid of being judged. Speaking up honestly was initially incredibly difficult, but I was pleasantly surprised by my brothers’ and sisters’ love, support, and understanding. I saw how Satan lied to stop me from telling others because he knew I would be set free from the bondage of my sin when I confessed. I now feel empowered to share my story for God’s glory.
Through this incredible inner transformation, I experienced the depth of God’s love, grace, and mercy in ways I cannot describe. In Luke 7, an immoral woman wept unashamedly at Jesus’ feet and poured out expensive perfume for him. Like this woman, God’s boundless forgiveness completely overwhelmed me when I realized how much I have been forgiven. Rather than condemning me for killing a child, God instead reached out to me to heal me and hold me in His loving embrace. He held no judgment against me. Rather, it was His scandalous grace that brought me to my knees.
I used to see God as a strict and cold father who only accepts the highest achievements and best behavior from his children, and the Bible seemed like nothing more than a code of conduct no human can possibly follow. Yet, God’s relentless pursuit of my heart demonstrated that His desire is to simply be known by me. God doesn’t love me because I am good, but He makes me good because He loves me. And as I allow myself to be romanced by my Heavenly Father, who had been patiently enduring my repeated rejections, He tenderly wipes away the dirt on my wounded face with His fingertips, looks intently into my glistening eyes and whispers, “You’re mine.”
那年秋天，我上了啓發課程，把我的生命交給了耶穌。但是，神在聖潔上的教導對我來說沒有任何意義， 我拒絕去服從祂，反而繼續沉醉跟前男友發生性關係。直到2013年，我在啟發課程裡事奉時，聽到一位弟兄的見證，才醒覺到自己在神的眼中充滿罪。他分享他的女朋友怎樣懷孕、怎樣有著巨大的內疚感、怎樣順服神和求神原諒。我聽這見證時，眼淚順著我的臉頰流下，我感覺到神在告訴我，我需要去請求祂的原諒 – 不是因為祂要懲罰我，而是因為祂要我去領受醫治…
除了向神懺悔， 我知道我需要向一位虔誠的姐妹懺悔，以尋求禱告和支持。雖然 我已經定期地參加教會聚會差不多兩年，但因為我害怕被人批評，所以從來沒有將我墮胎的罪行告訴教會裡的任何人。一開始要誠實及毫無保留地說出自己的過去，確實十分困難，但弟兄姐妹的愛、支持和理解令我喜出望外。我看到撒旦是怎樣用謊言阻止我去告訴其他人，因爲他知道當我認罪的時候，我便會從罪的捆綁中釋放。我現在感覺到，我已被授予權力爲神的榮耀去分享我的故事。
經過這個令人難以置信的內在轉變，我無法用言語來形容神那份深深的愛、恩典和憐憫。在路加福音7章， 一個不道德的女人伏在耶穌的脚前哭泣，爲祂倒出昂貴的香水。我就像這個女人一樣，當我意識到我已經被原諒的時候， 神無限的寬恕完全使我深受感動。神没有譴責我殺死一個孩子，反而向我伸出手來醫治我，把我抱在祂愛的擁抱中。祂對我沒有批判。相反，是祂的恩典，使我俯伏到祂面前。
*Name has been changed. 非真實名字。
Image credit: flickr.com/67262490@N04