Do we really forgive people for having a rough past? Women are judged harder than men for making a few mistakes in their teens/early twenties and I want to know why.
When the crowd wanted Jesus to persecute the adulterous woman, he said “let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). We must remember that the man and the woman committed the sin. Double standards means that only the woman’s sin was looked at. Society bestows the condemnation onto the woman alone, shame is sexist.
As a woman who grew up in Nigeria, we were taught to be upright, pure and meek. This idea was subconsciously imbedded in us. Men were allowed the freedom to have all the ‘fun’ they wanted in their teens and twenties, they could be as promiscuous as they wanted. If a woman was promiscuous? She wasn’t ready for marriage; it was as simple as that.
Therefore, my motto was to ignore boys and be the pure and chaste girl who will eventually marry and have a happily ever after. Sounds simple, right? However, to my dismay, my life changed, dramatically.
I was dating Jeremy* for a few years, in my eyes he wasn’t like other men, he was well educated, loving and mature. My life changed when I eventually became pregnant at 18. Thankfully, I still managed to finish my degree, get a job and somewhat fit into society. Shockingly, the man who I thought was perfect delved into infidelity, I tried my best fix our relationship, knowing full well that if not, I would now be tainted. Jeremy also knew this, the advantage he had as a man from our culture means that it was hard to leave him. As woman who has had a child, this would be deemed social suicide. After many years of trying to hold our relationship together, I eventually walked away, I became that twenty-something year old, struggling single mother. Not what I would’ve planned for my life.
Alas, I did not fit into the Nigerian family stereotype, I had done the despicable, had a child out of wedlock, thus not fit for marriage, not fit to marry a well brought up decent Nigerian man from a Nigerian home. This is not the case for men, a child out of marriage can simply be put down to some sort of youthful exuberance. Again, shame is sexist.
I would be described as a stereotypically ‘good girl’, I do not smoke, drink, party and have only slept with one man. In the eyes of a Nigerian family, because of my child, I became a jezebel, a prostitute and not worthy of a ‘good man’. I became very depressed, I tried my best to be perfect. On many occasions, I wanted to be run over by a car, I didn’t see the point of living if I could not get married. I had tried my hardest to not to fit into a stereotype but now I am the stereotype.
Flash-forward to today, I am thankful for Godly women, a strong mother, amazing sisters and awesome friends who encouraged me in the Lord. Although there was condemnation, I am thankful for a mother who pulled me up when I was down, who did not care when tried to bring us down and make her embarrassed.
My story is not finished, I will come back and write a sequel. I write this today thanking God for my life and your life, my pastor always used to reference Genesis 50:20, which says- You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. As a Christian, I must tell you this, do not commit sexual immorality as it is despicable in the eyes of God as with all sins. However, if you do fall, we are thankful for the grace we have in the Lord Jesus, even though we are not worthy, he is willing to pick us up and give us a fresh start.
Today, I write this to encourage the young woman who is going through this, to remind her that you are treasured by God. Never forget that.
*Name changed for privacy purposes
This brilliant post was written by Tilda M-O. We encourage our readers to explore their faith and write about it. If this sounds like something you’ll like to do, visit our submission page – here
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