Alice (not her real name) is an 18 year old Christian young lady. Bob (not his real name) is a youth pastor in his mid-20s. Alice’s youth pastor, to be exact. Also her fiance.
And the father of her unborn child.
At first glance, this is pretty scandalous. Alice is my 2nd cousin, and I was pretty upset when I first heard. But after thinking about it for a while, there’s a lot of mitigating circumstances, and even some things Alice and Bob are to be praised for.
For starters, Alice and Bob were engaged to be married in just a few months. They’ve since moved the wedding up, understandably. So, while fornication is still a sin, it’s not quite the same as wanton promiscuity. It’s neither acceptable nor excusable, but it could be a lot worse. It’s not _Sex and the City_. This sort of thing is not all that uncommon. There are only a tiny number of people I know who would shock me if they revealed that they’d also committed fornication. So we must keep Alice and Bob’s sin in perspective. The fact that she’s pregnant does not somehow make their fornication that much worse than a couple’s who didn’t result in a pregnancy. The stigma associated with a premarital pregnancy rightly belongs with premarital _intercourse_, not the outcome. A couple whose birth control methods failed is no less virtuous than a couple whose methods were more effective.
But Alice and Bob are to be praised for doing a lot of things right. Alice’s family is pretty devout all the way around, going back a couple of generations. Mostly conservative/fundamentalist Baptists. I can’t imagine how scary it must have been to tell them. Bob went with Alice to tell them. That was manly and very courageous. He did the right thing.
Bob resigned his position as youth pastor. That was also the right thing.
They potentially faced a lot of ostracism from Alice’s family (I know nothing of Bob’s, but maybe a lot there too), loss of a job, and a past that will possibly keep Bob from working in the ministry for a long time. Certainly, “Christians” with a poor grasp of God’s forgiveness will not overlook the past.
Despite all this, they didn’t take a hundred bucks and head to an abortion clinic. It would have been so easy. Every way you look at it, the decision to have that baby results in bad things for Alice and Bob, both now and for a long time to come.
Alice and Bob did the right thing. They made a tough, but right, decision.
And fortunately, the family seems to be pretty forgiving. Alice’s grandmother said “Well, if God can forgive you, we certainly can.” It’s certainly upset us all (particularly Alice’s grandfather), but I don’t think being upset means not being forgiving and understanding.
I’m reminded of a couple at a church I used to go to. They had been married two months, and had a baby. And they were in a newlywed class. What impressed me about them is that they were willing to do the right thing, even going to a church full of mean old conservative Baptists (this church was actually not quite as far to the right as some others, but still!), and I think that took guts. How much easier it would have been to simply sit at home for a year or so!
It speaks highly of these couples that they didn’t take the “easy” way out, but did the right thing despite the consequences.