I know, I’ve written about this topic before, but it bears repeating, especially when I constantly see how damaging these ideas are to women, young and old.
You are not the chewed up gum that is stuck to the sidewalk and trampled on.
You are not the spit water in the cup that everyone has spit in after swishing water around in their mouth while eating an Oreo.
You are not the duct tape or the post-it note that no longer sticks.
Let me make this point perfectly clear:
Your worth is NOT solely dependent on your purity.
You are worthy because God finds you worthy, period. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, how many times you’ve sinned, or who you were with five minutes ago. God finds you worthy.
I get it. On one level those metaphors and visual aids make sense. Having sex with someone who isn’t your husband is like spitting in a cup and then passing that cup on to someone else. Having sex with someone who you aren’t married to is like chewing gum, letting someone else chew that gum, then spit it on the sidewalk and letting everyone else walk across it. Having sex outside of marriage is like using duct tape or post-it notes over and over again, they eventually stop sticking.
But here’s the problem with all of those metaphors: they tell people (and especially girls) that their value and worth in life is based solely on their sexual purity. Those metaphors say that once your stick is gone or your cup has been spit in you have no purpose, no value, and no worth. How damning is that? Where is the charity, the mercy, and the forgiveness in that? These metaphors we use incite fear and shame where we should be stirring up respect and appreciation for the beauty and wonder of our sexuality. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that these metaphors open the door for Satan to pile shame and ideas of worthlessness into our hearts – as if we even needed to let the door be open any more for him.
Whether someone was raped, blurred the lines of purity without having sex, or freely gave away their virginity, these metaphors strip girls (because these metaphors are more often aimed at girls than they are guys…and I’m a girl, so I’m writing from that perspective) of the value they have beyond their virginity. What does that leave us with? Girls who aren’t virgins are worthless. They are have no purpose and no value because their gum has lost its taste, their clear water is no longer refreshing and satisfying, and their tape no longer sticks. Our worth has to go beyond our use as a sexual object. Our use is more than how “refreshing” and “satisfying” our water is, how “tasty” our gum is, and how “sticky” our tape is. Do you see how those words tie our worth to our goodness as an object as opposed to as a person? We are more than refreshing, satisfying, tasty, and sticky, because God says so, each and every day, no matter what. Our value as women (and I’m going to go ahead and speak for all women here) goes well beyond sex and our sexual history. Can it be a factor in future relationships? Of course, but does it damn us to a realm where we are unseen, unsought, unpursued, unworthy, and unlovable? NO WAY. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: God loves you and finds you worthy just as you are. He makes all things new. He can make the gum regain its flavor, the water become clear (hello, baptism and confession anyone?), and the tape sticky again.
When the metaphors fail, how about we try a giant dose of the love and mercy He shows to each one of us every single moment of our lives? How about we try approaching sex with a sense of reverence and awe (as He intended it), instead of a sense of fear and shame? At the end of the day it isn’t about how dirty your spit cup is, how chewed up your gum is, or how sticky your duct tape is. At the end of the day it is about our heart and how clean we are allowing Him to make it, it is about love, mercy and holiness, not judgement and shame.
“I ,the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart.” – Jeremiah 17:10
He’s not telling you that you are a nasty spit cup, chewed up gum, or useless duct tape. Do you know what He does tell you?
“You are all fair, my love; there is no flaw in you.” – Song of Songs 4:7