On purity and brokenness.

So today I have a difficult topic to tackle. This has been on my mind for awhile but I didn’t know if I was ready to go public with it. But I think until I do it’s going to bother me.

I know I’m not the only person to have experienced this, in fact probably all of you have more than once even, so here goes.

Some time ago I was meeting up with some friends, and in the course of a late night chat with a few of them, I learned that one of them had compromised their purity, multiple times.

This is not an usual thing, sadly enough. (By the way for those of you who don’t know, purity is the christian word for virginity and freedom from lust.)

But that wasn’t all. This person was still in that relationship and her family wasn’t too happy about it. She was also unwilling to break it off, and unwilling to separate from the guy to go to a different school for a while, as one person had recommended.

There is no one way to handle such situations, but to my horror, the other people in the room began telling her there was grace for that.

I may make quite a few people mad by sharing this, but it won’t be the first time if I do, so I’ll continue.

I was shocked, more at these other girls than at the one who had made the confession. In disbelief I began to tell her that, while I didn’t believe she was condemned, she needed to put an end to this if she really cared about the guy in question and her relationship with God. I made it pretty clear that this was not okay.

None of them really liked what I had to say. The girl herself got mad at me and ended up ending the conversation.

Now it wasn’t all so smooth at the time as it sounds in the retelling, but you get the idea.

I can’t tell you how much this incident bothered me and continues to bother me.

I witnessed first hand what damage compromising can do and I want to talk about it.

I don’t think it’s biblical to be overly harsh with those who have stumbled. It does happen. But it happens for different reasons.

Sometimes the person is rebellious.

Sometimes they are broken and do it compulsively.

Sometimes they are just filled with lust and lose their heads.

Whichever it is, each has to be handled differently. But I’m going to address the second one.

I have talked about this before on this blog. Some people, especially girls, tend to live in sexual sin because they feel somehow that they deserve it or are trapped in it and cannot escape. In can be because they were molested or raped, or abused in some other way, or because they gave in one time and felt that they already lost it all.

Most often these girls would not have fallen had they had better support form their family and friends, or if they did fall, they could have got back up again.

Actually, they still could and some have. The biggest lie in the whole business is that there is no turning back. There are women who have. Ones who aren’t even religious but just feel that the lifestyle is wrong.

But many believe they can’t ever get back what they lost.

It’s true that you can never forget that you made that choice. But there is healing from it, and there is restoration.

Sometimes women (and I’ve heard this personally more than once) believe that because they were raped or molested, their purity was stolen and they cannot get it back anyway, whether they wanted to lose it or not.

As a woman I understand it is terrible to feel helpless. And maybe they choose promiscuity because in some way they feel they have control again.

Rape is a terrible thing. There is no softening that.

But, and this will be hard to swallow, even the rapist can be a broken person themselves who does not fully realize what they are doing.

They have no excuse; but perhaps it might be easier for the woman if she could understand that the only way to heal the hurt is to stop spreading it. Whether it’s through what she does to herself or to what she does not choose to put an end to in other people.

Most people will agree that being raped does not equal losing you purity. Christians especially feel that God does not see it that way. In fact losing your virginity is not equal to losing your purity at all. Married people are still pure.

The girl I mentioned before felt that it was too late for her. That she was already on the downward slope, and she took my admonishment/rebuke as confirmation of that.

To be clear, I told her more than once that it was not too late. That she could be forgiven. And I believe that.

What she heard was not what I was saying. She heard what she was already afraid of deep down, and she probably knew that, in a way.

The problem was, she didn’t want to be free bad enough. She thought she and this guy loved each other.

Maybe they did in a way; but not enough to protect each other. Not enough to stop deceiving her family or going behind their backs. Not enough to respect her beliefs.

There are a lot of factors that would make breaking off that kind of relationship hard. Those kinds of problems tend to run in the family. But it does not excuse ignoring that problem.

Nor does it in any way justify people who are outside the situation refusing to admit it is a sin.

It’s kind of taboo to call it that anymore. As a church in general, Christians have taken a more compassionate view of teenage promiscuity. We have been willing to acknowledge it’s more than just teens trying to be wicked on purpose. In fact, that’s probably only a small percentage of the teens who participate in it. Most of them are doing it out of brokenness.

But there is no place in the Bible or in life when brokenness makes something okay.

It’s like driving around with bad brakes, if you get in an accident, it was at least partly your fault for not getting your brakes fixed. You didn’t mean to get into an accident, but you did without seeing it coming.

Or, as happened to me recently, you don’t even know the brakes are bad because you lack experience with them, and find out only after you start driving. Then it would be on the person who didn’t warn you.

But in no way does that change that bad brakes are a hazard to you and the people around you. It would be stupid to say that the brakes were okay because it’s forgivable that you didn’t know about them.

And that’s the difference. Sexual immorality is a sin. Whether it’s done intentionally or by lack of being prepared.

Telling someone that it is okay to sin is never right because it’s the same as telling them the car their driving is safe when it’s not. You could get them killed. Figuratively or literally.

But I don’t want anyone to read this and then think it’s okay to be a jerk to someone who is stuck in sin. I am all for being compassionate…but not delusional. There’s a difference.

I have a feeling this message may never be popular, but it is still important. My biggest regret is that I could not help this girl I knew. I couldn’t because I had neither her full trust, nor any back up from anyone who cared enough to tell her the truth. Except those whom she’d already refused to listen to.

I hope in the future I will have better answers. But I recognize that there is no forcing people to choose differently.

But I just want to point out, no one is forcing them to keep choosing the same thing either.

Freedom is available. All you have to do is want it bad enough.

One last thing, I don’t claim to have it all figured out or that this post was an extensive look at this issue. It’s a small peek into it, that’s all. There’s a lot more books and talks on it that would be better for anyone concerned with the subject to check out.

I’d recommend “Purity,” by Kris Valloton. (It’s less preachy then it sounds.)

“Kissed the girls and made then cry,” by Lisa Bevere.

And the “Message to teens,” sermon by James Robinson.

Until next time–Natasha.

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