Alright, I’ll admit it: I’m not a nun.
…oh, wait, you already knew that? Well then, hmm. What I really mean to say is that I’m not perfect. I’m a sinner (but you already knew that too). When it comes to dating and relationships I’ve fallen short and struggled with chastity and purity like most folks I know. As a youth minister I’ve also heard a lot of talks and homilies on chastity. As a blogger I’ve also read a fair amount of blogs on purity, dating, relationships, and the passions that can be ignited with someone you care deeply about. When it comes to the youth minister/blogger chastity talks and such, there are a few things that have always rubbed me the wrong way when folks say or write them. As with nearly all statements in this series so far, I’m sure these folks mean well, but they don’t always realize what they are saying or how hurtful it can be.
- Once you’ve sinned or pushed a line of purity too far you are like a sticky note that won’t stick, a cup full of other people’s spit, or a piece of trash on the side of the road.
- Wrong. Just wrong. Sin is sin and we have ALL fallen short of the glory of God. The Good News is that He forgives us all. When we confess our sins He forgives us and makes us beautiful and new in Him. In Revelation 21:5 Jesus tells us, “Behold, I make all things new.”
- Once you’ve messed up, no one will love you. All they will see is your sin, your past, and how disgusting you are.
- I wish to Heaven that this wasn’t said in talks I’ve heard and blogs I’ve read. This is a lie straight from the mouth of the devil. For starters, God asks us to forgive others in the same manner that He forgives us. When we pray the Our Father we ask that He would “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” The forgiveness goes both ways; if we want God to forgive our yuckiness, we have to be willing to forgive the yuckiness in our brothers and sisters. Confessing our sins to others is hard, but it is an opportunity to show and receive God’s love and mercy. Don’t let Satan win.
- Don’t have sex, because you will get pregnant and die!
- Scare tactics don’t work, because someday sex won’t be scary, it will beautiful, it will be an expression of committed marital love. Shaming folks into thinking that sex is the most terrifying thing ever may keep them from having pre-marital sex, but how terrifying will their wedding night be? I shudder at the thought!
- Think of your future spouse!
- I get where this is coming from, but I can almost guarantee you that in the heat of the moment you won’t be thinking about your future spouse. On the off chance that you are, you will do you darnedest to convince yourself that the person with you in that moment will be your future spouse anyway, so what is the harm?
- People who can’t wait for marriage are weak.
- “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” – Matthew 26:41. We are all weak in some way, we all have sins that we seem to make into habits. What is important is to help each other out when we are weak, not tear down the weak and point out their flaws.
- People who have sex outside of marriage are whores/sluts/easy and will not be allowed in Heaven.
- Mary Magdalene was as close to Jesus as the apostles, and tradition holds that she was an adulterer or a prostitute. Saint Augustine prayed that God would make him chaste…just not yet, and he is held as one of the greatest saints, and is hailed as a Doctor of the Church. King David slept with Bathsheba and essentially had her husband murdered and yet he is referred to over 800 times in the Old Testament and over 60 times in the New Testament, more often than not for being a model king and a good and righteous man, despite his sin. Paul describes King David as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). Need I go on?
- If you have sex before marriage you are giving away something that belongs to your spouse.
- Another well-intentioned statement gone wrong. Our virginity belongs to us as individuals and is a gift from God. Is it a gift that God hopes will go only to our spouse? Yes. However, your future spouse does not own your virginity.
- Hugging someone is dangerous because you form an attachment to them, so you should only hug people you plan on seriously dating or even marrying.
- I actually laughed at this one. I suppose for some folks hugging can be a temptation or an occasion for sin, but I don’t think it is as grave as only being able to hug people you are planning on marrying.
- When you have sex with a person, the chemicals in your brain bond to that person. Therefore, people who have had multiple sex partners have damaged brains and won’t properly bond to their spouse.
- From a purely biological standpoint I suppose this makes some sense, and yet it leaves out faith. It leaves out God’s goodness. It leaves out His ability to heal us from our pasts and be able to bond “properly” and “completely” with whomever He wills us to marry.
- You are worth the wait.
- While I certainly understand where this is coming from, it can easily be misconstrued. What if God calls you to marry a person who hasn’t waited? Were you then not worth the wait? On the contrary, our worth comes from GOD, not another person and their past decisions. Are you worth waiting for? Of course you are! The length of the wait may vary given someone’s past, but your worth comes from God alone!
- Act as though Jesus were in the room!
- Nice idea, but super creepy when it comes to marriage. If Jesus were in the room you better believe I’d be sitting at His feet soaking up all that He has to say and all that He is. Once I’m married I don’t think that acting as though Jesus were in the room would be a good idea…Hey, Jesus, can you go sit in the corner and cover your ears while we consummate our marriage? Okay, thanks!
- Married sex is SOOOO mind-blowing!
- Honestly, while waiting for marriage I,and many of my friends, would much rather hear about how hard it is to wait so that we know we aren’t alone in the struggle. Think about when a doctor asks you to fast before having blood drawn. Would you rather someone tell you about how totally and awesomely amazing food is, or would you rather someone talk to you about how hard the struggle is?
After some more brilliant discussion with my CathSorority sisters, we realized that the chastity conversation should always start with your individual self-worth. There is no wound that God cannot heal, be it rape, incest, sexual abuse, sex outside of marriage, whatever. Your worth is a gift from God, a gift that He can restore, renew, and re-give. If we don’t start by acknowledging our own worth as an individual, our worth as a gift from God, then
perhaps we’ve missed the point entirely. Our worth (as I’ve said here before, and have a whole book about) has nothing to do with whether or not we deserve to be worthy, and everything in the world to do with His loving gift to us.