LIFE CHANGING CONVERSATION
Joe and Janette Nelson, the directors of the DC chapter of MERCY Worldwide, have been in the Kingdom for over 25 years and today they are renewing their marriage vows to each other with the entire DC Church and family members as witnesses. They are deeply loved by the Church members here and many others around the world. We are all excited and encouraged to witness their renewal. The purity and longevity of their love for one another is a result of their love for God and their marriage glorifies Him. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Nelson!
I became a disciple while I was dating my then boyfriend, now husband, Joe. As I studied the scriptures, I realized that God hated sexual immorality because it destroyed our relationships with Him, with each other as well as our own spirit and many times even our own bodies. Since Joe and I didn’t have a pure relationship and I became a disciple first, I ended our five-year relationship at that time. Even though I loved my Joe, our relationship was on rocky ground because of some unwise and stress-causing decisions he had made by borrowing from a young lady as well as evil actions of others around him. Albeit, I knew I needed God and needed to repent so I ended the relationship. I knew Joe needed God also, so I invited him to church and to study the Bible.
I felt so free; I moved on with my new found love –Jesus, and after a while I started going out on dates which I thoroughly enjoyed. No impurity, no strings attached, just a great time of encouragement. I thought, if this is God’s plan I am enjoying it and more so, I was involved in my studies and ministry.
Well, Joe did become a disciple and I began to see him as a man of God. To ensure his sincerity to God he could not ask me out on a date for several months. Some of the brothers would even taunt him of their plans for dates with me but he persevered. At first he wouldn’t go on dates with the sisters but he quickly repented and tried to set his focus on God and ministry. He was well loved by my family who persecuted me and the church for ‘breaking us up’. Joe played the victim and would come on and off to visit ‘my family –so he said, and so I made myself believe- at my home. We didn’t hide the fact that he came to visit but it was ‘my family that he was visiting. My deceitful heart allowed me to believe this lie also and I was able to justify his visits. It had nothing to do with the fact that I enjoyed him coming also. I was not inviting him, we were never alone (I had 9 other siblings) so we would never fall into sin, it placated my family’s dissatisfaction with the church’s policies, not my decision to seek God first and be pure, so I allowed him to continue to visit. Secretly I enjoyed the fact that he still loved me but now he was a man of God, a disciple.
Of course in the kingdom we are family and there are no secrets. It wasn’t long before it became common knowledge that Joe was visiting my home and I was called by my women’s evangelist to’ have a talk. She came face to face with my sinful nature—a rebellious heart! I wanted things my way. I fought her tooth and nail. I justified his visits as: ‘family visits; People were always at home; no room for sexual immorality; I didn’t invite him. It’s my family who invites him! You can’t just turn off his relationship with them because of me. It is an opportunity to reach out to them and not cut ourselves off from non Christians. My wise women’s leader didn’t argue. She knew my Achilles heel—the powerful Word of God. She knew I had been made into a disciple and that my conversion was rooted in God’s Word, nothing else so she used it to cut my heart into little pieces.
1 Corinthians 10:23 “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.” Ephesians 5:3 “Let there be among you not even a hint of sexual immorality or impurity for these are not befitting of God’s people.” Still, I rebelled and resisted in my heart. Then she got me on the principle of setting an example for the single sisters, especially those who may live alone. She asked “What if the brothers just turned up to the sisters’ homes whenever they felt like it. If Joe can do that why then can’t the other brothers?” She then dealt the final blow with this scripture….
2 Corinthians 5:15 “For Christ’s love compels us…and He died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.”
God knew that I always hated the idea of hurting others or causing them to sin. My women’s leader helped me realized I was no longer living just for myself, but for my sisters and their purity could be affected by my impurity of heart. I was so ashamed of my selfishness I wasn’t even thinking how I was encouraging Joe to sin by allowing him to come and visit. I was convicted about how deceitful my heart was and how I was willing to give Satan a foot hold and smear the holiness of God’s church. It changed my heart.
This occurred over 25 years ago and it has been my conviction to live this way and to keep God’s Kingdom holy. I do recall an incident before I got married when I was impure with Joe and it just reminded me of the warning God had given me years prior and how I was deceived into thinking I was so strong. I feel I have fought to be faithful in my purity even as a married woman. I value my purity and holiness as a gift pleasing to God. I wouldn’t want to bring disgrace on God’s name. I am afraid of even allowing a hint and I run away at the first whisper of the Holy Spirit’s warning. My conviction is “don’t take a second look”. I have shared this with sisters who have struggled with immorality and impurity and I think it has helped them. God’s goal is holiness. My mantra “if your right hand offends you, cut it off”!
Joe and Jannette Nelson