It’s all the rage these days to blog about purity and virginity. Here’s a quick summary of some of the posts in the last 10 days that have been written on the subject.
Virginity isn’t a guarantee of healthy sexuality or marriage. You don’t have to consign your sexuality to the box marked “Wrong.”
I may have remained a “virgin” but I wasn’t walking in moderation or practicing self-control at all.
I don’t care anymore; I’m done with virginity. I’m done with that word and that idea. I’m done defining myself, my past and my future, in terms of who’s what has been where, or hasn’t. I’m done with stories for virgins and non-virgins, promises and praises, and sentiments of “restoration” that just push forward bulldozer loads of this horrible twisted shame.
And finally, yesterday Matt wrote:
Virgins or not, each of us go to the altar as damaged goods. We were born into sin, damaged from birth. Then we picked up bad habits, negative experiences and harmful prejudices for years. In other words, we all have a lot of baggage.
I resonated with a lot of what was written. I’ve been that youth pastor making students feel guilty. I’ve been the person in church shamed for my misdeeds. I’ve been the guy in a relationship lost in a downward spiral of physical affection. I’ve walked those awful roads.
I don’t throw myself into the conversation to disagree but rather to re-frame.
My concern lies in two areas.
First I’m concerned about the tone of the conversation. That somehow valuing virginity shames those who lack it. That we should focus only on purity because focusing on virginity somehow turns purity into a one-sided conversation.
Yes, it’s true. Many Christians have used virginity as a paddle to beat on those lacking. And this is unloving and not our role. But does that change God’s encouragement for us to keep stay sexually pure?
The problem in this lies in valuing our experiences over God’s teaching. This type of mentality takes us into some sort of Christian mysticism where our experiences mainly inform our understanding of what truth is. When your story carries too much weight it’s quite easy to justify sin. We can start to decide what is right and wrong based on what we have gone through in life, rather than God’s Word. God can then be formed from a picture of our past rather than the Almighty God.
God values the purity of heart, mind, and body. And in His valuing of bodily and sexual purity He also values virginity.
The second concern is that by devaluing virginity we’re teaching that God doesn’t care about our past. We focus on God as all-loving and full of grace. Yet we never then look at God full of wrath, despising sin.
God saves us from our sin and redeems the broken pieces of our lives, but that doesn’t mean our mistakes don’t matter. God doesn’t erase the past, but He does transform your heart so that you can write a better future. (tweet this?)
It’s a prevalent idea that God seems to not only forgive us but also take away the consequences of sin. This isn’t to say that we then have to somehow earn God’s love. Or that by doing specific things we can avoid God’s discipline. Not at all. It is through God’s love that He then disciplines us to bring us nearer to Him.
The past can be forgiven but it still remains. We cannot erase it all. Graciously God allows us to move beyond it, but the scars take time to heal.
Let me again reiterate it is not my goal to say what has been written prior to this is wrong. I want to re-frame the issue around the subject of purity without questioning the importance of virginity. People who have given up their virginity still receive grace as abundant as anyone else. People who have given up their virginity can still have thriving marriages. No question God still loves those who have had sex outside of marriage, so let’s not throw out something God desires because so many of us have dealt with unloving people over the subject.