Tuesday, July 14, 2009                                                                                       View Comments

Shackled by guilt

A letter from Carleen

locked and chainedImage by Darwin Bell via Flickr

OK, so I realize that I might be as bad as his parents say that I am. They are just scared that he will be influenced by me away from his fundamental Christian Church. Originally I had no intention of doing anything of the kind, because I believed that no one person can fully understand "God," therefore no one person can be sure that they have the only "truth."

After I had been with him for awhile, he was kicked out of his family's business and told that he should fear God because of his choice to date me -- as I stood there, looking on, silently.

He has been told that by dating me he is is tainting his own and their names. All because (as far as they know) I am a liberal Christian. I was raised in a Methodist church, and that is how I answered the question of my faith when asked the first week of knowing Tim.

Tim and I had many many conversations about religion, and he explained that he did not believe exactly as they do, and that it was OK that I did not believe exactly as they do either. For instance: we have friends that are homosexual; we did normal things; he behaved in a typical manor in social situations; he did not display behavior that he was constantly thinking and living the life that Jesus commanded so as to avoid going to Hell. Now it has all changed. After going to a long dinner alone with his parents (He is 25... old enough I would think... but...), he has decided that he needs to love God more than me, and he agrees with his parents that the Bible clearly states in many places (especially 2 Corinthians 6), that he is not to date a non-believer.

He said that he loves me and that this is the hardest thing that he has had to do. He really thinks that the words in the Bible are the words of God, and he has to do everything he can to try to follow it even though he knows that he is flawed and will be a sinner over and over again. He says he can't date me knowing that the Bible is clear on this topic. However, he still continues to text me and contact me, saying that he misses me and cares about me.

I know he is struggling. I want to help him along his way to see that he does not have to live this way, but not just so that I may have a chance of being with him, but to help free him from the pain of guilt and control that he will probably experience for the rest of his life. His older brother is a great example. He is 35 and has never dated and spends most nights at his parent’s house for dinner.

Anyway, it is Tim's choice to do and be who he wants to be. I think he is shackled by guilt and by his parent’s conditional love. What can I do, what would you recommend if I could get him to read just ONE book?

Thanks,
Carleen