My husband is doing some research on the teaching of ‘soul ties’ within the church, and naturally, he is sharing a lot with me about the topic and even listening to some people speak about it. And to be honest, while I understand the issue people have, or are having, I completely disagree with the terminology being used. Regardless, it also has had me a bit introspective about my own life and the ‘connections’ I had with someone else. So I figured, why not blog about it and share my thoughts on the matter at this state in my life.
Okay, so I’ve blogged before about my childhood (growing up country poor, having an alcoholic father, dealing with my father’s death at a young age, dealing with a stepparent, having poor self-esteem, being depressed, etc), and while I was in high school, I contemplated suicide for a long time. My thought was that life was absolutely horrible and that the situations and stress of my home life were going to kill me anyway. So why not beat it to the punch? I was extremely depressed and withdrawn from a lot of people, and it seemed to me that though God was real, He was just not interested in me or what I was dealing with because He hadn’t changed anything, in spite of my many prayers.
So while in high school, I met this guy (I’ll keep him nameless) who was really sweet and friendly. He seemed genuinely interested in me, and as we shared a class together one semester, we talked A LOT. He was pretty easy going and even affectionate (i.e. holding my hand or resting on my shoulder) in public. I mean, I’ll tell you, I was really taken back. Here was this cute guy who was well-liked actually interested in me, even with all of my life drama going on. So, obviously, I started crushing and falling for this guy really really REALLY hard, even though he had never made a verbal commitment with me.
So we never actually dated through those years, but we had plenty of ‘moment’ of random intenseness. And trust me, all of those moments made me really want to be with this guy. For me, he was everything I thought I wanted. He was sweet, kind, understanding, and affectionate. I thought he was “THE ONE”…..oh Lord, yes I did! I fully believed that he was the one for me.
Alright, so we graduated, and I went to school. He went off to the military. I did my best trying to remain in contact with him, believing that something was there between us, though nothing was actually said. (He rarely ever called….like maybe once within 6-9 months). I had a lot of moments where I felt like I was wasting my time, but my mom, cousin, and friends kept encouraging me to be “patient” with him because he was definitely the one. Now, all of this coincided with my walk with God becoming more clear and authentic. And with each passing year, I kept shaking my head knowing that this wasn’t right and downright foolish.
Finally, after agreeing to travel to where he lived for my spring break, I got really convicted, and I mean really convicted about the entire matter. I thought about my relationship with God, how much I had grown, how far I still had to go, and I knew that our relationship had to go…if you could call it that. I wrote him my junior year, while he was at sea, and apologized for everything. I apologized for my actions, for unexpressed feelings, and for making him something he wasn’t. I told him about my relationship with God and how much I was growing, and I told him that I needed God much more than him. And I mailed that letter before I lost my nerve, and I didn’t hear from him for about a year and a half. He eventually called me when he heard about a school shooting and said he was wondering if I was okay (obviously, I didn’t attend that school or live in that state…lol).
So after that letter and in the following years, I did put my focus into my relationship with God. I realized that I was still dealing with hurt, bitterness, resentment, anger, failing to forgive, and a lot of pride regarding my home life. I realized that I was truly a broken and needy person that fully needed a Savior, and I focused in on Christ. It really wasn’t easy though. Even after I wrote that letter to him, I wanted to send another letter taking it all back. My mind and emotions played tricks on me, telling me I wasn’t being understanding enough, that I didn’t try hard enough, that I wouldn’t love anyone else the way I loved him, and that no one would love me like he did. It was hard, really hard going through those next few years. I had to stop listening to a lot of R&B and the Delilah radio show (I loved that show) because those things fully reminded me of how I felt for him before. And it wasn’t like I completely stopped talking to him altogether. Nooooo. I was foolish, and I occasionally would catch up with him by phone or stop to visit his parents when I was in town. What was the result? Well, I had to deal with my mind and emotions all over again, each and every time.
After college, I was thankful for two really awesome male friends I had at the time that kept me encouraged in the Lord, and they really held me down after college. I got much more focused on my relationship with God, praying, and actually studying the Word. My friends constantly encouraged me, held me accountable, and really walked with me. I did make one more visit to that friend’s parents, and it was the first time that I looked at him (he was there) and had no feelings stir up within me. It felt like I finally was perfectly at peace with God, and everything that I was hanging on to with him was no longer needed. It was liberating, to say the least. And I’ve never looked back. (I also started dating my husband about 7 months after this too).
My Thoughts on Soul Ties Now
Okay, so looking back on this entire experience, I can see where people would describe this as a soul tie and all, but I would disagree with them. Looking back on this, I see sin, specifically idolatry, and I see the process of having to reap what I sowed. And I’ll try to explain them both briefly.
Sin – Idolatry
The reason I see sin is because in this entire I was sinning against God. I had a lot of issues going on personally when this all started. I was angry with God for not fixing the situation or even looking like He answered my prayers. I was really angry, and I found my solace and hope in this guy. For me, this guy met my needs, and he was actually there. When he came around and I got past the initial shock, I basically stopped even trying to do anything with God (truth be told). At that point, this guy was it, and every day I looked forward to seeing him, speaking with him….just everything was situated around him. Basically, I put this guy on a pedestal and fixated my life around him.
People, this is idolatry. When you fail to worship the only, true, and living God, you will worship something or someone else, and it is always idolatry. In this case, I was worshipping this guy, and I literally put him ahead and before God. It breaks my heart to even reminisce about this now, thinking about my foolishness, but I wanted nothing to do with God, unless God would have allowed him to be in my life permanently. I turned my back on God to go after this dude. Like the women in Jeremiah 44, my life appeared to be better with this dude, then it was following after God. So naturally, it would make sense to continue after that guy.
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”
Now today, I know clearly what the Word says about idolatry. It is a gross sin before the Lord, and the first two commandments of God speak clearly against it (cf. Exodus 20). If you think about it, once idolatry was introduced among the children of Israel, it constantly constantly plagued them throughout generations. The 10 northern tribes of Israel were all led astray from God because idolatry was introduced to them, and they never found their way back to Him. In the New Testament, you will still find exhortations about turning from idolatry because idols were a part of every society. But this is the admonition that grabs my attention the most, and Paul was speaking of what the church of Corinth should have learned from the story of the children of Israel (1 Corinthians 10):
Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” … Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
As the Word says, idolatry is not a new sin nor a new problem for believers today. There are countless examples of idolatry throughout the Word and among mature Christians, if they are willing to be transparent. But Paul says here two things that strike me the most that I didn’t see at that time: if you think you’re okay, be careful that you don’t fall AND flee from idolatry.
Honestly, I didn’t do either one of those things. After a month or so, I thought I was good and that my feelings for this guy were over. One phone call….I was back at it again. Every time I had any bit of confidence in overcoming this, I fell all over again. And then, even when I was doing well, I thought it was okay to go back and check. I never fled from the idolatry. I thought it was okay to talk to him occasionally. No wonder it took me over two years from the day I wrote that letter to be really removed from all of the mental and emotional attachments I had to this guy!
Sowing and Reaping
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
That leads me to my second point that I see now. We’re told in Galations 6:7-8 that we will reap what we have sown, whether of the flesh or of the Spirit. We will have to reap. Now, I know plenty of people who said that you have to declare death to that bad crop of your past and reap what you have sown in Christ. And you know, that sounds cute and all, but I’m not buying it. The Word says: God is not mocked. That means, you can’t play God! You will have to bear with what you sowed and receive what you’ve reaped. He can by all means give you grace to bear with what you are reaping, but you still have to reap it.
In my case, the effects of my idolatry meant that there were constant triggers that immediately took my mind back to this guy. Not only that, it constantly hindered my devotion to the Lord, and it was often a stumbling block for me in my walk. And I still have to deal with a natural affection towards this guy to this day, even being married. And you have no idea how careful and cautious I am about that. But this is all a part of that reaping what was sown.
A lot of times Christians assume that because the blood of Christ has carried away the guilt of your sin and born the judgment of God on your behalf, you should be all good. And in a way, you are, but you still have indwelling sin within your nature that won’t be fully removed until you die. When you sin, and especially when you dive into those sins that we numerous warnings about (i.e. idolatry, sexual immorality, testing God, grumbling/complaining), you will have to reap what you have sown, and it may be something that will continue to test and try you years down the road.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
This is such an awesome passage from Romans 7 that explains the how Christians deal with the effects of indwelling sin in this life. It is a war, but you have victory in Christ Jesus! Reflecting over this entire experience has really struck a chord for me this evening….realizing the depths of your sins can do that. And it has humbled me even more to know that I was caught up in idolatry for about 4 years…..that’s a really long time! But I thank God for His faithfulness towards me. I thank Him for taking away the guilt of my sin and bearing the wrath of God for my foolishness. I thank Him for the victory that I have been walking in over the past 5 years, and I thank Him for being able to use entire experience for my good (Romans 8:28) because I have not placed my husband above my relationship with God, nor has my marriage hindered my devotion to God in any way. That alone was worth learning, and I thank God for using even my foolishness to be for my good in looking more and more like Christ.
So, I think this wraps it all up for me. I don’t believe ‘soul ties’ is the proper language for people to use honestly. I think you should call a spade, a spade, and call a sin, a sin. And once you’ve acknowledged the sin, see what the Word has to say about it, humble yourself before God, don’t get too cocky and confident thinking you’re over it, and obey the Word. If the Word tells you to flee from your sin (specifically, idolatry and sexual immorality), then flee from it. You’re not called to fight it, declare or decree anything against it, or wage any kind of spiritual warfare. You’re called to flee from it, and I personally exhort you from my own experience: FLEE FROM IT!