Your neckline must be two finger lengths from your collarbone. You can’t watch that movie. Your shorts are too short. You shouldn’t date. Sound familiar? Like many of you, I grew up in The Purity Movement of the 1990s and early 2000s. To be honest, purity seemed kind of cool at the time. There were giant conferences promoting it, teen pop stars modeling abstinence, and parents buying their daughters fancy rings if they committed to saving sex for marriage. You could even say that purity was popular.
Purity... what does it mean? Why is it important? And why does God care? There is a lot of confusion surrounding the word. Many see it as old-fashioned, oppressive, or even “cringy”. The word elicits feelings of shame and anger toward Evangelical churches that explained sexual purity poorly.
Is there marriage in heaven? If it is such a good and beautiful thing, shouldn’t it last for all of eternity? I was always puzzled and upset by Jesus’ response. My idea of the perfect fairytale had me believing that marriage was the ultimate.
Although one of our missions at Across My Heart is to encourage girls to save sex for their marriages, we realize that there are young (and older) women in the church who did not wait until marriage to have sex. This blog is for you. If you’re scared, I beg you to keep reading.
With everything that has come out with the #MeToo movement, it’s good to see that our society hasn’t fallen so far as to undermine sexual victimization and sweep our skeletons under a rock. Men and women have spoken up against sexual violence, raising awareness of its widespread effect, and helping victims realize they are not alone. Necessary changes are taking place and justice is being served. But as a member of this society, it still scares me to see the obsession we have with sex.
I remember the day when I received my purity ring. As a thirteen-year-old girl, I was mesmerized by the glittering of the garnet stone in the sunlight. My parents explained to me what it meant to be pure, and how the ring was a symbol of a commitment. I don’t think I fully got it. Even though my parents did their best to help me understand the holistic design for purity, my young mind oversimplified the concept of purity and made it solely about the physical aspect. As a brand new teenager who hardly even spoke to boys, I thought that the whole “purity deal” was easy. Of course I would be abstinent! I had been taught that sex before marriage went against God’s Word. I didn’t think that I would need a reminder of my commitment to purity.
Love makes it okay to have sex. I’ve heard that line more times than I can count. But, no matter how good it sounds, I can’t find it anywhere in the Bible. In fact 2 Timothy 2:22 urges us to flee from youthful passions so we can pursue love instead. "So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).”
Both male and female bare the image of God. Our gender is sacred because we bare that image differently. As women we reveal something about the character of God that man cannot. Men in turn do the same.
It was a Friday night and my mom and I were going to be the only family members at home, so we decided that it would be a good time to watch a chick flick. I grabbed my phone and pulled up my notes app where I had a list of movies that people had recommended. But before picking any random movie off the list, I looked up reviews about each movie to see if their content was wholesome (I’ve learned by now not to trust just any suggestion!). I read review after review and wasn’t comfortable with what I saw. I finally gave up and asked myself for what must have been the millionth time, are there any good chick flicks without a slew of sexual innuendos, dirty language, and scenes where women are portrayed as sex objects?
I grew up believing sex was bad. No one ever actually said it that bluntly, and I doubt I would have ever verbalized it that way (because let’s be honest, I never would have said that word out loud). But as I sat through church service after church service that encouraged saving sex for marriage, that’s the conclusion I drew. My youthful “solution” = Do not desire sex at all. The problem with my “solution” = A fear of that which God designed for His glory.