CW// True Love Waits campaign; racism; ableism; sexism; homophobia; ageism; classism; mental health TW// sexual abuse/assault in all forms; sexual exploitation; purity culture euphemisms and teaching; miscarriage; infant death
Sometimes, writing these pieces comes easily. My story flows through my fingers onto the screen, and in one evening, the whole thing is complete. Vulnerability comes naturally, my heart is easy to verbalize, and I know exactly what I want you, friend, to read and learn.
Other times, though…words are not easy. There is no flow. There are 15 pages of rewritten, rough phrases mingled with sketches of ideas and the occasional fully formed and well-articulated thought. I struggle to share my heart, battling for authentic vulnerability, and unsure what I’m really trying to communicate. It’s grueling, exhausting, and messy.
Friend, this piece has been that.
Grueling. A draining experience fraught with severe frustration. Exhausting my mental reserves, my emotional stores, and my physical resolve. Messy. All over the place. Half-formed thoughts. An inability to put into words what I am learning.
I have struggled with this piece, friends. Even as I write this confession, I have no idea where we’re going to end up. This topic of purity culture is wildly complex. It is historical. It is current. It is personal. It is varied. It can be traumatic. It has been life-changing, and not in the good and magical kind of way.
As I have dived deep into the history of this subculture, studying the most obvious of teachings, and placing even the most subtle insinuations under the microscope, I have felt the pain and the devastation of this rhetoric all over again. As I have mulled over the propaganda, looking for non-Christian words to engage y’all in this topic, I was again confronted with how many Christians look at my life.
Over and over, I have had to remind myself that my loosely restrained premarital relationships do not make me unfit for God or marriage. I do not have more to “make up for” than the untouched virgin. My sexual assault does not disqualify me, nor has it ruined me. My churches taught me those things, and I am still working to untangle those lies from the roots of my soul.
Perhaps it is only right for this piece to be raw.
I’ve asked myself, “Ava, why write this if it so hard and painful? Why can’t you let this one slide and go?” And friends, the answer is simple. Foundations are important. If we don’t address the roots, then plucking at the growth won’t matter.
So let’s look at the history. Let’s pull a few themes, and let’s chat about how they are simply not right. In order to make this a readable length, I’ll gloss over my research, but I’ll leave the links where I can, and some titles if you desire more.
You are a good gift, friend. No matter what your story holds and regardless of what you’ve been told and heard, you are loved beyond all reason and comprehension. Know that❤
For the large majority of us, purity culture (PC) rhetoric shapes the foundation of our sexual ethic. For those who grew up in the Church during the 90s and early 2000s, it was overt. That was the sex ethic. For those growing up in the Church post-2010s, these teachings were a mixture of overt and subtle. Some beliefs are easily identified, and others have to be painfully extracted.
For those who did not grow up in the Church, it’s reasonable to assume you’ve been exposed to PC in public school sex ed classes, by family and/or friends, or even in secular sex teachings! As humans, we are experts in observing everything and interpreting more (Joyful Journey: Listening to Immanuel). No matter how minimal our exposure to these teachings, searching our sex ethics for any evidence of internalization can only benefit the pursuit of a solid foundation.
This is why an understanding of these teachings and a commitment to critically analyzing our beliefs are so important! We’ve already hit on the deconstruction process, so that leaves us here.
What is purity culture?
Purity culture was an evangelical movement launched in the 1990s designed to protect the Church from the societal rise of AIDS, teen pregnancy, and cohabitation by promoting the value of virginity before marriage.
Evangelicals had correlated STDs and unmarried pregnancies to a lax attitude regarding marriage and premarital sex. AIDS was the number one cause of death for men 25-44 in the United States. Teen pregnancy rates had reached an all-time high. The number of sexual partners had greatly increased and was predicted to continue increasing. Cohabitation was also becoming a more standard and accepted practice.
The Evangelical Church became desperate to gain ground in the realm of sexuality, and their “True Love Waits” campaign, the first PC movement, was born. According to The Living Word Christian Center, True Love Waits (TLW) was “created to encourage moral purity by adhering to biblical principles.” It uses “positive peer pressure” to encourage teens to pledge abstinence until marriage while “challeng[ing] their peers to do the same.”
TLW ushered in an era of teachings promising marriage and children to faithful virgins, labeling all sexual thoughts, feelings, and actions as sinful, and separating the physicality of the human body from the spiritual. It launched an industry of pledge cards, purity balls, purity rings, and abstinence pledges.
Purity Culture was born discouraging dating, encouraging girls to remain under their father’s protection and guidance until marriage, and promoting the unaccountability of men. T-shirts, books, devotionals, camps, and conferences made it an indispensable source of income.
And all this with one goal in mind – guiding, advising, and delivering rules to manage an adolescent’s sexuality and budding sexual desires.
Perhaps this sounds like a decent goal. The intentions seem wholesome. Protect young people from AIDS, teen pregnancy, and divorce. Shield teenagers from STIs, life-altering consequences, and relational heartbreak. This subculture intended good.
Like anything, though, intentions mean very little in the face of their impact.
As I dissected the TLW movement, I saw a pattern emerging. As I dove into the PC literature (Passion and Purity, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Before You Meet Prince Charming), I saw the same subjects. I’ve even noticed the exact same content in popular “Biblical” sex ethic accounts and teachings today.
I honestly believe there is next to nothing redeemable in the teachings of PC. It is too far removed from the Jesus of the Bible to be helpful or beneficial. It never reflected the heart of God or the truth of the Gospel. It sought to destroy God’s good design, and it belittled God Himself.
Friend, if you walk away with one thing, I hope it is this. God adores you. Full stop. There is no asterisk, what if, but, or qualification. God adores you. Completely. Wholly. You cannot convince Him to not, and He will never stop.
With every fiber of my being, I believe God detests PC. One day, when we stand before God, and He asks us for an account of our lives, our words, our actions, I believe those who have taught and promoted PC will have no ability to justify their work, words, or beliefs. Standing before God, there will be no support for this. Friends, I really believe that.
Nothing about PC is Biblical. The list of reasons is looooooooooong. Remember those themes I mentioned earlier? Those are what we’re going to spend the remainder of our time on. These five threads flow through any and all PC rhetoric I’ve experienced. Teachers, speakers, pastors, books, IG content, and blogs – all operate with these five can-of-worms at the center of their ideology.
One False Teachers
This is a very “Christian-y” phrase, but I mean it in the most literal of senses. These people have no business teaching sex ethics, Biblical or otherwise.
Elisabeth Elliot went to missionary school and learned about love and romantic relationships in an abusive context. Joshua Harris wrote his dating saga as a 21-year-old man who later completely renounced his faith, his book, and divorced his wife. Sarah Mally wrote a book for young women as a single 26-year-old, promising marriage at an early age if they followed her advice, and despite remaining single until her 40s, she still holds that adherence to her guidance brings a happy marriage during a girl’s college years.
Their own choices and lives contradict what they proclaim.
Today’s seminaries and Bible schools spend an average of one class in one semester discussing Biblical sex ethics and how to “handle” sexuality conversations in their future ministry. Their training in this area comes from works of man written in the 1800s. Pastors addressing sex ethic topics remain disconnected from the world, middle-aged men either refusing to discuss these topics entirely or teaching in the shallow way in which they were trained.
Would you be excited about a president who only entertained one view? Would you accept the theories of a professor who has never done research? Would you trust the recommendations of a doctor who didn’t study medicine? Would you continue to see a therapist who guilts and shames you?
(I’m going to assume your answer is no😊)
So why accept teachings as “Biblical” when they cannot be found in the Bible? Why agree with rules that have no basis? Why adopt views inconsistent with theological, psychological, and clinical research? Why operate under stereotypes that have questionable histories?
Why label people with no training, no experience, and no desire to learn “experts”?
This is their doctrine. Concocted. Erroneous. Fictitious. Improper. Inaccurate. Incorrect. Mistaken. Unfounded. Wrong. This is the character these “experts” display. Truthless. Corrupt. Unreliable. Unsound. Untrustworthy. Liars.
I am a married woman. I would never dream of writing a piece or speaking about singleness without the input, correction, and oversight of my single friends. It is unthinkable for me to address the struggles of men without consulting men. As one who has never struggled with same-sex attraction or pornography, I will not write on these without learning from the stories of those who have.
Friends, Biblical teachings are in the Bible. Teachers and pastors pursuing the heart of Jesus reflect the heart of Jesus. Speakers and educators encouraging others to live better display that better in their own lives.
These are the characteristics of Biblical teaching. Actual. Truthful. Veritable. Comprehensive. Honest. Verifiable. Constant. Life-giving. Clear. These are the traits of one who should be teaching this topic. Visibly pursuing holistic purity. Discerning. Convicting. Humble. Accessible. Revealing. Actively learning. Teachable. Relational.
If it isn’t those, be wary. Proceed with caution. Perhaps flee. Expect more from those you learn from, friend. Hold them accountable. Search out educators and pastors who look like Jesus and point you to the Jesus of the Bible.
Across the board, PC is meant for a specific population, and it is made accessible for only these: young, white, affluent, sheltered Christian girls living in a two-parent home. The list of those missing is astronomical.
The molested. The abused. The ones in foster care, the ones being raised by a single mom. The ones sexually exploited and trafficked. The sexually assaulted. Those struggling with pornography, masturbation, same-sex attraction, gender dysphoria in all it’s varied forms, and body image. The sexually active and the sexually experienced.
Those living in poverty or in a lower socio-economic class. Those of color who often hear, “Purity is not meant for you.” Those working in the sex industry. The single ones, the divorced ones, the widowed ones. The ones aware of their sex drive and their sexuality. And men.
Men are missing in PC rhetoric and education. They are told, “You cannot control your sexual impulses. Avoid girls.” End of story.
Now go back and repeat that list with men in mind.
It is an astronomical list.
The PC movement excluded more individuals than it included. The evangelical church cast aside more than it embraced. Even today, they are more likely to ignore your existence than they are to sit with you in your story.
Churches and proponents of PC have embraced all the “-isms.” Racism. Ableism. Sexism. Heterosexism. Ageism. Classism. While they are human and failings are to be expected, they have willingly entrenched these atrocities into their beliefs, their legalistic morals, and their worship services.
Friends, hear this loud and clear. This is not the God of the Bible.
From Genesis to Revelation, the marginalized take center-stage in the story of God. No one is forgotten in the eyes of our Maker. We see Him embrace all peoples, beginning to end to the end of ends. He raises up those society and religious leaders cast aside, and He calls them “blessed.”
In the pages of His story, God does not display a single “-ism.” Not one. As a matter of fact, He shatters them. Every. Single. One.
I wish I had the time and space here to detail the specifics of each and every instance where God contradicts the “-isms,” friend. The Bible is the manual on how to interact and love the marginalized. Perhaps one day, we will do that. For now, though, bite-size snippets must suffice.
Genesis is the beginning of human history. God creates humans, and He makes them the father and mother of ALL peoples. Non-ethnic. Non-national. Not identified by race, ethnicity, or country. No indication of a single or specific group being superior.
Revelation details the end, and the culmination of God’s plan. There is a repeated theme of God redeeming people “from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Seven times, these four groups are mentioned. This symbolism is emphatic. Complete world. In the final gathering before God, all tribes, peoples, languages, nations, races, and ethnicities are not only represented, but needed for completion. It is not perfect if even just one is missing!
And every page from the beginning to the end is full of God radically contradicting the societally drawn racial lines. Our God gives no room for racial or ethnic prejudice and intolerance.
Finding the exact number of disabled people in the United States in nearly impossible. The CDC says 26% of American adults have a disability, but this number does not include people like me – disabled through chronic illness. They also say 60% of American adults have a chronic illness, but that number seems specific to lifestyle related illnesses. As for children, as many as 20 million live with a disability or chronic illness.
Point is, there are a lot of disabled/chronically ill people in our world! And this is nothing new. The Bible is peppered with stories of disabilities across the spectrum. Moses had a speech defect (Exodus 4), Elijah suffered from mental illness (1 Kings 19), Mephibosheth had a mobility impairment (2 Samuel 9), the woman in Luke 8 had a bleeding disorder, the man in John 9 was blind, and Zacchaeus had a form of dwarfism (Luke 19).
God does not ignore the disabled. No, friend, He embraces them and lifts their lives up. He chooses the disabled for grand purposes. He holds the disabled especially close, and He uses their stories powerfully. In the Bible, we see the disabled having much freer and more intimate relationships with Jesus. Their understanding of Him and faith in Him far supersedes that of their abled peers. In our present-day church, an extensive survey has revealed the depth and wealth of spiritual wisdom and maturity in the disabled community.
Friends, the disabled are specifically and uniquely blessed by God. They are required for the health of the Church and the greater glory of God.
The way both the Old Testament and New Testament consistently defy cultural treatment of women is revolutionary. A higher estimate of women cannot be found in texts dated from the same time periods. Personally, I think there is no greater example than the genealogy of Jesus.
In Biblical times, the lineage of a person was followed through the male line. Seeing the name of a woman in a genealogy was incredibly incredibly rare. When the lineage of Jesus is detailed, there are FIVE women.
In a culture that ignored women and treated them as “less than,” God included five women specifically in the history of our Savior. Friends, this is unheard of.
And in an even greater slap to the face of religious culture and PC, the five women mentioned are far from the mold women are told to fit. Their stories include (and are not limited to) rape, molestation, widowhood. They hold prostitution, sexual assault, premarital pregnancy, miscarriage, and infant death. These women have been cast aside, looked down upon, and thrown away based on their labels.
And God includes them in the greatest lineage ever written. In the history of the most important Man who ever walked this earth, the women are pivotal.
God’s plan does not unfold without women, friends. It never did, and it never will.
Homophobia is not part of the character of God, nor His word. It is treated no differently than any other sin, and it is included from Old Testament law to New Testament admonitions. In a church culture that ignores those struggling with same-sex attraction, God does not.
His word offers the same promises, the same blessings, the same challenges that the backstabbers, the proud, and the boastful have access to. There is no distinction. God shows no favoritism. Those that struggle with sexuality are just as welcome and loved in the sight of God as the one who struggles with gossip.
In a world where the old and the young are ignored and told they have nothing to offer, God says, “Your life matters, and so does your voice.” Abraham was 100 years old when God fulfilled a promise to him. He was even older as God used his life to create a nation.
Mary was approximately 14 years old when the angel Gabriel appeared to her. She was a teenager living at home. And yet, she is called “favored.” The Bible makes it explicitly clear that the Lord was with her. God chose a very young girl to be the vessel through whom He would change the world forever.
God shows no partiality when it comes to age, friend. The young are embraced just as the old are used. The picture we receive is a multi-generational church where each age learns from every other generation.
And finally, there is no minimum wealth qualification or education standard for the Church. Jesus Himself was born a peasant to a low-status and uneducated carpenter. He grew up in a peasant village, on the fringes of urban society.
In His ministry, Jesus most often uses rural and everyday analogies in His parables. Though He is certainly wise, His recorded teachings do not reflect a privileged or well-to-do upbringing. Even in the men He chose to do life alongside, the backgrounds were varied.
There is no one vocation, socioeconomic class or education level required to walk with Jesus. The Twelve were both married and single, fathers and childless, well-educated and minimally educated. They were fishermen, merchant, tax collectors, and master craftsmen.
Regardless of where you come from or your station in life, you are wanted by the God of the Universe.
Here’s my point…exclusivity does not exist in the Bible. I'm going to say that again. Exclusivity does not exist in the Bible.
Partiality based on physical traits and circumstances beyond our control is not part of God’s character. It is not. Don’t let anyone convince you it is.
This is a “Christian-y” term meaning “strict adherence to the law; following a prescription to the letter of the law; judgement of conduct in terms of adherence to precise laws.”
Purity Culture proponents love to use 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 in support of their teachings, so let’s use that as an example.
“God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor – not in lustful passion…God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teachings but is rejecting God…”
Let’s walk this how they did. We read the text, and now we ask, “Well, what rules?”
They answer, “Stay away from all sexual sin. Control your body. Do not live in lustful passion.”
And then they go, “Well, what does this practically look like?”
Cue the brainstorming. Modesty. Modesty is good – this is probably easier for the girls to do. Girls should be modest. We don’t want them tempting boys. Oh and dating seems to encourage promiscuity! Let’s say dating is evil and encourage…courtship! Courtship is good – dads can oversee their daughters and keep them safe because boys can’t control themselves. Oh that’s good. Song of Solomon encourages young girls to not awaken desire before it is ready, so let’s do that, too. Save all physical contact for marriage. Guard your heart – oh that’s good, too! And it looks like denying sexuality and sexual desires. Those are bad. Sex is bad because purity is what we want them to give their future spouse.
So now we have a list of practical applications meant to give guidance on how to live out instructions from God. Great! And as we start teaching these, they become rules.
Eventually, all rules measure worth, right? If you go over the speed limit, you are not the best citizen. If you’re assigned lunch detention, you’re not the best student. If you’re not a virgin when you get married, you’re not a very good Christian.
And thus legalism is born.
Pastors and teachers are now telling their young people, “If you don’t follow these rules, God won’t bless you. Your life will be harder. You aren’t holy enough to receive God’s promises. God only loves a virgin heart.”
We are so far from the Bible, it isn’t even a recognizable piece of the indoctrination. We are teaching lies about God and about the Gospel and about salvation and about our identity. We’ve exchanged the truth of Biblical freedom for the lies of moral purity.
And friends, this is the inevitable end of legalism. It sticks us in a toxic cycle of impossible expectations, hopeless attempts to attain perfection, and futile efforts to be “good.” It forces us to experience anxiety due to unacceptance, depression because we’re never “pure enough,” and despair that God will never love us.
And this, this ugliness is not of God.
Legalism is not Christianity. Virginity is not a qualification to be loved. What is traditional is not what is Biblical. Moral standards mean nothing when confronted with the love of God.
Over and over, God calls you “beloved.” Of the hundreds of beautiful and loving names God uses for us, “beloved” is the one repeated the most.
So what does it mean?
Favorite. Worthy of love. Cherished. Dear one. Favored. Treasured. Chosen. Adored. Best-loved.
The Greek word is ἀγαπητοὶ (agapētoi). It directly translates to “beloved,” and it occurs 30 times in the New Testament. Its relative words are used 61 times, and it’s second-cousins are used 171 times.
And its root is “agape.”
The highest form of love. Unconditional. Radical. All-consuming and empowering. Relational. Binding. The kind of love only God can give perfectly.
Friend! He loves you like that.
Why? Because you breathe. It is as simple as that. You breathe, so He names you “beloved.”
Friend, pious rules cannot stand up in the face of the Cross. Moralism is not the plan for those called agapētoi [ah-GAH-pay-toy]. Religion was never the intention for our lives. Man-made decrees are not designed for the heart pursing God.
What is the Biblical alternative, then?
Jesus is the antidote to this religious smut. The Biblical Gospel holds the answers – its pages contain the truth about redemption, freedom, and our own identity. Spoiler alert – Jesus loves you a lot. Living free from shame is possible. And your identity is a very good image-bearer of God.
The cross has the final word, friends. Nothing else gets to define you. Heart-transformation takes the ugliness of what was once your life and makes it beyond beautiful. You are free to pursue joy without restriction, purity in its holistic sense, and the agape love of your Rescuer, Savior, Father, and Friend.
You are agapētoi. Beloved. Best-loved. Chosen. Favorite.
Four Unfounded Certainties
PC guarantees a whole host of things for those who adhere to its policies. You will get married. You will get married young. God will bless you with children. Married sex will be mind-blowing. You will not struggle sexually once married. God will give you a happy marriage. A husband who loves God is the perfect husband.
For many of us recovering from PC, it was the unfulfilled nature of these promises that brought us crashing to our knees.
God, I am a virgin. Why am I not married by now? God, I have been single for so long. What have I done wrong? Lord, why can I not carry a baby? Lord, why am I infertile? I remained pure until marriage. Jesus, I was faithful to Your commands. Why does sex hurt so much? Jesus, I don’t know how to embrace sexual intimacy with my husband. Father, why didn’t my porn addiction go away? Father, why does my wife resent me for having sex with her?
God, it wasn’t supposed to look this way! What is wrong with me?!
Friends, I’m hoping that by this point, you understand these promises weren’t fulfilled because God never promised them to us.
And I’m so sorry you were told to expect this of Him. I’m so sorry you were set up to be disappointed and hurt and wounded. That you were told to save this gift of virginity to exchange it for the gift of a husband – I apologize. For being told you can only experience true love when married, I am sorry. I’m sorry confusion about our Jesus was thrust into your life. I’m sorry you were lied to. I’m so sorry.
I hate the broken heart you bear, the disappointments you wrestle with, the “whys” that plague your thoughts. I hate that your walk with Jesus has been negatively altered through no fault of yours or His. I hate that your life looks differently than you were promised.
And you know what, friend?
So does God.
In a world of uncertainties, unfulfilled promises, and evangelical lies, let me gently remind you. There is certainty. There is confidence to be had, trust to place, and steadiness to be found.
Our God is a God of Promises, and these are His covenants. This is what we should have been told, taught, and promised.
“Stay where you were when God called your name. Were you single? Singleness is no roadblock to obeying and believing. I don’t mean you’re stuck. If you have a chance at Godly marriage, go ahead and take it. I’m simply trying to point out that under your Savior, you’re going to experience a marvelous oneness you would have never dreamed of. On the other hand, if you were married when Christ called you, you’ll experience a delightful “loneliness with God” you would never have dreamed of. All of you, single and married both, were once held hostage in a sinful society. Then a huge sum was paid out for your ransom. Please don’t out of old habit, slip back into being or doing what everyone else tells you. Friends, stay where you were called to be. God is there. Hold the high ground with Him at your side” (1 Corinthians 7:20-24 MSG; italics mine).
Your marital status does not change your value in the eyes of God, friend. His sacrifice and love is meant for you in every season. Running to Him when the loneliness seems overwhelming is the surest way to hear His voice and see His Presence.
We are not called to be content, friend. We are called to stay where we are. To meet with God there. To be present at His side. To be still. To rest with Him. Hold tight to this promise – God is there.
“[In Him, there is] a renewal in which there is no distinction between the Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, abled and disabled, nor between nations whether barbarian or Scythian, nor in status whether slave or free, single or married, but Christ is all and in all so believers are equal in Christ, without distinction” (Colossians 3:11 AMP; italics mine).
All that matters in the eyes of God is y’alls relationship. Race, ability, sex, age, class, nationality, etc. all fade. Marital status – single, engaged, married, divorced, widowed – cannot compare to our relationship status with God – saved or unsaved.
Marriage is not the goal, friend. It never should have been. God is the goal. His heart is the destination. It should have always been.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8 CSB).
This is the reason we pursue purity. This is the reason purity matters in the life of a Jesus-believer. It has a spiritual consequence. It has eternal meaning.
Pursue what is true for Him. Seek what is honorable for Him. Guard your heart for Him. Do what is right for the sake of your own soul. Chase what is pure for God promises to reveal Himself. Practice what is lovely for your own spiritual flourishing. Follow what is admirable for His sake. Choose what is excellent to proclaim His name. Declare all that is praiseworthy in worship of Him.
“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3-4a CSB).
We pursue holiness and purity for Him. There is no other reason. We are not promised mind-blowing sex for purity, no – we are promised something better. Him. God Himself. Standing with Him. Friend, pursue freedom to the end of experiencing freedom with Him and in Him.
“Jesus told him, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 CSB).
Oh friends…an earthly relationship cannot save you. A marriage cannot rescue you. A ring is not the answer, and a wedding cannot be your savior. These are the lies of PC.
Cling to His promise – “I am the Way.” Hold tight to His words – “through Me.” Know He is close, just waiting for you to take His hand. This is the plan for your life – security in a love that will never disappoint or waver or abandon.
His love is better. He promises.
“Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than any birds! And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? Your Father already knows your needs. Seek Him, and He will give you everything you need. So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to meet your needs (Luke 12:24; 28; 30b-32 NLT; italics mine).
Oh what a promise! All our needs will be met. All. Every. Single. One. The ones we are aware of and the ones we do not even know we have. God – who knows what is good and helpful for me – will meet those needs. What more could we ask for?!
He will take care of our needs – He has promised.
And finally, on love. I don’t know about you, but I spent far too much time being taught what a good husband should look like, how I should be a good wife, and not near enough time on what love looks like.
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” (Romans 12:9-16 NLT)
That is the picture of love we are meant to have! This is the heart we are to reflect. This is love!
God’s promises are magnificent, friend. And these are just a few…His Word is chock full of richness and proof that He does fulfill what He promises and blesses. These are promises we can hold to – unchanging, never-ending, always available.
Five He is Missing
Friends, this is the crux of the issue. Jesus is missing.
A God who calls Himself “God with You, Emmanuel” is missing from these teachings. And believe me, He did not remove Himself!
In every other PC rhetoric issue we’ve plodded through, it has all ended with me pouring out Biblical truth, infusing Jesus into the issue, letting God Himself correct what has been misstated.
When it comes to sex ethics, the most sound one is buried in the original design, the original Maker. A Biblical sex ethic. A set of beliefs built around the never-failing, always-present, not-changing views of Creator God.
It’s a sex ethic that looks at people through God’s eyes. Image-bearers. It sees all people as very good. As a gift to the world. Purposefully created and intentionally constructed. Full of dignity. Valuable. Precious.
There is no exploitation, objectification, or profiteering. There is no worth placed on what you do or do not do with your body. Men are not evil. Women are not temptresses. Bodies are good. Sexuality is blessed. Sex is worshipful.
When we teach around Jesus or sans Jesus, we end up with the PC problem. A system of beliefs that changed nothing and destroyed so much. We are left with a generation traumatized, wounded, and unsure how to heal.
Friends, despite what the Church has shown us, He is not missing! And we must remember that. We must seek Him when our institutions fail us.
He is Emmanuel, God with Us. That is promise that never changes, regardless of how hard we attempt to remove him from our churches and our teachings.
I have been blessed to wrestle with PC rhetoric in safe spaces with churches and Christians that do not support these teachings. Those are corrective experiences, redemptive conversations. My heart absolutely splits in half for those doing it by themselves.
Friend, if that is you, would you let me know? Just drop an emoji on a Daily Ava platform. I’ll come find you❤
I wasn’t sure where we were going to end up, friends. And I’m not sure how this flows or how it hits your heart in this moment. We've talked about a lot. Addressed even more. The hours I've spent compiling these thoughts...it is many.
Process slowly. Digest thoughtfully. Pull one little string at a time, friend. Consider your heart. Ponder your church life. Why does it look how it does? Does it need to shift? What is the root of what you believe? Of how you believe?
You’ve been told you are a ripped-up construction paper heart. A chewed-up stick of gum. A dented car with no value. A crumpled flower. A half-eaten cookie. Duct tape or scotch tape that has lost its stickiness. A cup of water polluted with spit.
They said if you’ve had sex before marriage, that is you. Unable to bond. No good. Undesirable. Worthless. Not wanted. Sullied and ruined. Dirty. Broken beyond repair. Devoid of value. Meant for the trash can, sewage, or junkyard. Unchosen. Damaged goods. Tarnished. Impure. No one wants you now.
Friend, you can leave those narcissistic obscenities in the past.
You a holy temple. A name and a praise. A new creature. A treasure. Near to Him. Righteous. A vessel to honor. You are accepted, able to call upon His name. You are the apple of His eye. Loved beyond reason. Agapētoi; beloved. Blessed. Part of His own Body. Dearly loved, called, chosen, and faithful.
You are a child of Light; a child of the Most High; a child of the Living God. You are a child of the Promise. You are His crowning glory, a best-loved sheep of His flock. You are His own, and you are called by name.
Complete. Alive. Unafraid. Redeemed, sanctified, healed. At peace. Renewed, refreshed, and restored. You are God’s finest and most favorite.
You are cheered on, fully supported, and never alone. You are seen. You are heard. You are loved with the agape love of our perfect Creator. You are saved from all that seeks to destroy you, and you are raised up to heavenly places with Him.