On Purity and Sex:
Several years ago I was leading a Wednesday night youth meeting and the topic of discussion turned to sex and waiting until marriage. There were only four youth present, so the atmosphere was rather relaxed. The young man who was there stated that he wasn’t going to wait until marriage. That it was a ridiculous notion. He felt that he should be able to ‘try out’ a woman and see if she was a good ‘fit’ for him (sexually) and whether or not it would work out. Because I knew this young man quite well, and I knew he would take it in the correct manner, this was my response. “If I were the girl you were considering and heard you say that, this is how I would respond:
I would dump you in a heartbeat. You wouldn’t be worth my time or my affections. I am NOT a used car for you to take on a test drive to see if you like me! I respect myself too much to allow you to use me to see if I was ‘good enough’ at sex. I respect myself too much for you to take what was meant as a precious gift to my future spouse and then throw me away once you found I didn’t ‘suit’ you. I will not date a guy who has no self-control, self-respect, or sense of commitment. No Thank you!”
A short time after that, I was given the privilege of homeschooling this young man for a semester. Because I knew this was an area he was struggling with, we did a Bible as Literature class and I had him study parts of Song of Solomon and Proverbs. Through this, I gently went through what a marriage relationship should look like, and why waiting until marriage was so important. I hope he took it to heart. He seemed to. In his defense, his mother had left him and his dad at a young age and had numerous men in and out of the home. His father also had numerous girlfriends living with him. He had no stability and no idea of what a healthy relationship looked like. And this is the bulk of our problem today on this issue.
As adults, parents, grandparents, and leaders in the church, we need to be setting the Biblical example of purity, sex, and marriage. Many children and young adults find themselves in and out of various sexual relationships because they think that is the way it is supposed to be. They have seen it modeled, it’s accepted, and therefore it must be the way to go. For them, it is the norm.
Unfortunately, it’s become the societal norm as well. And this norm is damaging people on a daily basis.
I recently had a similar conversation with a gentleman in our community who felt that marriage was too easy to get into and out of, and that many children’s lives are emotionally destroyed by divorce. (Agreed!) But he also felt that it would be better for a couple to live together first before getting married and see if it would work out. As he is a believer, I lovingly called that mindset out on the Biblical carpet. Sin is sin. (And children can be conceived outside of marriage just as easily as within a marriage. The emotional damage to a child is no less painful when the parents break-up than if they were married and then divorced.)
So, what do we do?
We set good examples, we educate, and we do not compromise the Word of God – in either direction – but speak the truth in love.
What do I mean ‘in either direction’?
Unfortunately, some parents and church leaders tell young people that sex is bad. I don’t know if they really believe that (If they do, I feel incredibly sorry for them.) or if they are just trying to scare them. This idea is as equally incorrect and damaging as having sex outside of marriage.
We need to teach the truth.
God created sex and called his creation good. It was not just created for procreation, but for pleasure. It was created to form physical, spiritual, and emotional unity between one man and one woman within the bounds of marriage. Genesis 2:24 tells us, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” One flesh equals unity.
Sexual intimacy is a beautiful union inside of marriage, and a fraud outside of marriage. I like how Michael Lawrence states this in his article, Sex is About Union:
“…the problem is that sex outside of marriage is a fraud and a fake. It pretends to be true intimacy, but is nothing more than exposure. It uses the language of love and commitment, but knows nothing of either. And by suggesting that true pleasure and intimacy can be had without loving, covenantal commitment, it perpetrates a massive assault against the very character and glory of God, whose eternal, intimate, loving relationship within the Trinity is the blueprint and pattern for every intimate pleasure that you or I will ever know (2006, Focus on the Family *).”
In addition to teaching the truth about how beautiful sexual intimacy is within a marriage, we also need to teach the need for purity until marriage due to the negative consequences that sex outside of marriage brings.
Like a higher risk for divorce. A couple who were sexually active before marriage is 50% more likely to divorce than a couple who remained pure.
Like the risk for sexually transmitted diseases and infections. There are quite a few out there, and you never know who has what. I remember one youth leader putting it like this: When you have sex with someone, you are also having sex with whomever they have had sex. Yuck!
Like the risk for unwanted pregnancy. I don’t care what anyone tells you, abstinence is the ONLY way to prevent pregnancy. There are thousands of people walking around this earth who were conceived through ‘safe sex’ methods.
And the emotional damage and spiritual scarring sex outside of marriage causes. Most people think that the main sex organs are below the waist, when in fact our biggest sex organ is our brain. Why? Because when you put a physical experience together with an emotional response, your brain remembers. So, when the relationship ends, the experience – and the cheapness of it – will always be with you. When you marry, you are bringing that experience into the relationship as emotional baggage, and it can destroy the marriage. Many women married to men who have been previously sexually active have a difficult time giving themselves fully to their husbands because they are afraid their husbands are constantly comparing them to their other sexual partners. When you give of yourself sexually – whether inside of a marriage or outside – you are giving a part of yourself to that person that can never be returned.
And finally, we need to teach forgiveness. Jesus died on the cross for all of our sins. His grace can cover every single one. Isn’t that beautiful? While His forgiveness will not take away the consequences, it does take away the sin, shame, and guilt. I am reminded of how Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery. He could have had her stoned (although according to the law of Moses, the man is to be stoned as well); instead he offered grace, forgiveness, and wholeness. That same forgiveness is available to everyone.
I’ve heard pastors and parents teach/preach that premarital sex is wrong. period. end of story. And they are correct, however it is taught in a judgmental and unexplained manner. No reason given, just don’t do it. I don’t think this is the correct approach. Nor is it effective. I believe we need to preach/speak/teach in love by finishing the story.
* To read the complete article on Sex is About Union, go to http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/preparing_for_marriage/why_wait_for_sex/sex_is_about_union.aspx