What am I going to do? Being pregnant now is not what I planned. What's my family going to say? What about my fiancé? People won't understand...
Feeling judged and criticized by her neighbors and friends, she seemed very alone. She was young and now the mother of an unborn child.
Her fiancé was a nice guy. He had planned to secretly call off their marriage to save her the shame of open accusation and the consequences that would ensue. As her pregnancy began to show, she decided to visit her older cousin far away from those in her town. She was right. She was going to be criticized for conceiving a child out of wedlock.
Recently, teen pregnancies have been publicized by celebrities like Bristol Palin and Jamie Lynn Spears. Some teen moms are now becoming celebrities on the shows Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant on MTV.
Although the rate of teen pregnancy in America is the lowest in two decades, that's still 39.1 births per 1,000 women. For striking comparison, "according to the United Nations, the rate of teen pregnancy in the United States is nearly nine times higher than in the majority of other developed nations" (Caitlin Hagan, thechart.blogs.cnn.com, April 5, 2011).
It's important to know that, for the human race in general, pregnancy and the sexual relationship that brings it about are reserved by God for marriage alone. But God does forgive, and, with help, unwed mothers can cope, find healing and meet the challenges of parenting.
Facing social stigma, worry and fear
The girl in the particular story we opened with had a very special situation. Her pregnancy was not a result of sex before marriage as it might have appeared. She was Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Her pregnancy was in fact a divine miracle!
Yet Mary still had to cope with an unplanned pregnancy at a young age and face the stigma of people thinking she had sinned in having sex before marriage.
Mary's trust in God allowed her to overcome worry and fear. Her fiancé Joseph believed an angel's assurance that God had intervened, so he proceeded with their marriage. Mary's courage to say, "Let it be to me according to your word," took an incredible amount of faith (Luke 1:38 Luke 1:38And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.
American King James Version×). Both knew that this experience was part of God's master plan. And both submitted to God's will in order to provide Jesus with a loving, stable home.
God and family
God created the family structure with a purpose. In part, He planned for children to be raised by two loving parents so they might learn His ways. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24 Genesis 2:24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
American King James Version×). "And why one? He seeks godly offspring" (Malachi 2:15 Malachi 2:15And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And why one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
American King James Version×).
Being joined together in marriage and then having a child is what God planned from creation—not for pregnancies to be outside of marriage. His perfect plan and spiritual law is violated when teens (or adults) engage in sexual activity before marriage, resulting in children born to parents who aren't prepared to be parents.
Another part of the reason for the human family structure is that it reflects the spiritual family God is building through all of us. The Bible in 1 John 3:1-2 1 John 3:1-2 1 Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
American King James Version×says that we will be called the children of God! With God as our Father and Christ as our Brother, we will all live together in harmony forever as the divine family.
By following God's instructions and waiting to engage in sexual activity after marriage, we allow the God-ordained family structure to be established in our own lives.
The road home
But what happens when you or someone you know has already violated God's law? The healing process has to begin—starting with your or that person's relationship with God. The offender must talk with God through prayer, humbly and remorsefully seeking His forgiveness. This involves recognizing the sin and resolving to not commit that sin again.
There is an amazing story about a woman caught in the act of adultery during the time of Jesus' ministry (John 8:1-12 John 8:1-12 1 Jesus went to the mount of Olives.
2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the middle,
4 They say to him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what say you?
6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the oldest, even to the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the middle.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said to her, Woman, where are those your accusers? has no man condemned you?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more.
12 Then spoke Jesus again to them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
American King James Version×). Religious leaders brought her before Him to test Him in judgment, the Mosaic Law having called for adulterers to be stoned to death.
Christ said that He did not condemn her, but He also told her, "Go and sin no more" (verse 11). Don't assume that you can never get your relationship with God back on track after sexual sin. God forgives—if we are willing to truly repent.
Counsel and support
Healing also involves getting help from family and friends. Mary had very strong relationships to help her during her unplanned pregnancy that people attributed to sin. She had a loving fiancé who supported her and stood by her side during the birth of Jesus. Her cousin Elizabeth, also with child, shared in her joy (Luke 1:39 Luke 1:39And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;
American King James Version×).
An important aspect of healing in the case of premarital sex involves rectifying the mistake. Get good counseling about marrying the other parent of the child—if it is a healthy relationship. Marriage is a part of God's goal for a family that will provide the baby a strong, two-parent home to grow up in.
If you and the other parent do not have a positive relationship, then finding appropriate support to raise the child in a right and godly way is vital. Seek the counsel and help of others to make sure the child has positive relationships that will help him or her to grow strong and faithful.
Understanding God's plan can help you if you've already gotten into a bad situation, and His love and way of life can show you how to live a life of faithfulness and joy. God is the ultimate healer of broken family relationships and wrong decisions. Jesus Christ is your perfect support system because He uniquely and personally understands your situation. Turn to Him, for He will one day bring families back together to fulfill that perfect design for the family of God.
To learn more of what God has to say about love, marriage, sex and raising children, send for or download your free copy of our booklet Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension .