I was talking to a friend the other day and he was telling me that when he was in youth group he watched a skit that went something like this:
Guy: Can I have some skittles?
Girl with a bag of skittles: No.
Girl eats skittles.
Girl: Want some skittles?
Girl spits skittles out of his mouth into the guy’s hand.
Pastor: You don’t like it when you get things that are used, do you?
This was intended to be about purity. This was intended to tell junior high and high school students that your spouse will love you more if you save yourself for them. This is horrendous. Sure, it can be argued that there are reasons to encourage high school students to abstain from having sex, but to infer that someone loses their value once they have been “used” is disgusting.
I have heard this idea in churches before not just in skits, but also in conversations, in sermons, in small groups. It is never presented so simply as you should not date someone who has had sex before, it is often presented as how important it is to save oneself for marriage. But we never go so far as to answer the lingering question “What if we don’t?” or “What if it’s too late?” Ignoring this leaves an underlying assumption that creeps through those words that screams, “You’re no longer good enough.” The idea that a Christian man should not date a Christian woman because she is not a virgin is awful. It is worse than awful. It is Satanic.
The reason that I say that this is of Satan is that it directly displays what a Christian believes about the church. Jesus’ bride is a whore. In the book of Hosea we see a historical prophetic example, a type, of how Jesus pursues his own bride. The prophet Hosea marries a woman who is given over to whoredom, she continues to pursue a life of sexual immorality and Hosea continues to pursue her. Jesus pursues the Church in the same way; though we continually fall short and continually chase after other lovers he still chases us.
If you at this point are thinking “But Jesus’ relationship to the church is different” then you seriously need to reconsider your interpretation of Ephesians 5 and 1 Corinthians 6. You will find that it is no different.
If you are truly pursuing God’s direction in life and you state that you will not marry a girl just because she made mistakes then what you are communicating is that God’s grace is enough to forgive her, but not enough for you to look past it. In John 8:36, Jesus states “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Are you so bold as to say that she is not free enough? If it is enough for Jesus to forgive then it is enough for you to overlook. Sin offends God way more than it does you.
“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25.
I assure you, that she has not yet gone to the uttermost. I assure you that there is still forgiveness for her.
Revelation 14 is refers to the 144,000, or a number that represents God’s elect; it is not a literal number. In this passage, when the 144,000 are revealed it is at the throne, the church has at this point been redeemed. In verse 4, we see the 144,000 referred to as virgins. They have not defiled themselves. This has nothing to do with whether or not they have had sex – it has everything to do with their stains and that they have been washed away. This passage has everything to do with them being presented to Jesus as pure. It does matter who they were, it matters who they are in Christ. Christ has made defiled sinners clean again. He has made them pure virgins. In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul tells the church that was rampant with sexual immorality that he presents them as pure virgins to Christ.
(Now I am not saying that it is wrong to save yourself for your spouse, that would be faulty logic – see transposition fallacy. The same goes for taking this too far and believing that I am telling you to marry a girl who is given over to sexual immorality. I am simply arguing that a woman’s past should not be a consideration in whether or not you date her.) If Jesus forgives to the uttermost, and you are “the head of your wife as Christ is the head of the church” then your role as a Man of God is to forgive. Your role is to “love her as Christ loves the church”, to show her as pure when she feels otherwise, to testify the gravity of the Gospel, and to constantly teach that we cannot be forgiven outside the atonement that Jesus brings.
If you are seeking to be a man of God and one of your requirements to date a girl is that she must be a virgin then you very well may not understand the Gospel. If you are seeking to be more Christ-like and are unwilling to look past her sin you may not understand the church. The church is made up of sinners, the church is a glass house, it might be time we stopped throwing stones. Jesus, the sinless, loving, redeeming, Messiah, God-incarnate, does not pass up the church because of her sin. Israel was given over into sexual immorality and idolatry and yet Jesus didn’t bail, he paid the ultimate price; he died for her to be pure.
There are too many beautiful, godly, women in the world who believe that they are far too stained, because of their past, for a Godly man to love her. We cannot allow this to continue. It’s extremely likely that a male, that one of your brothers deceived her, played with her heart, stole it and left it shattered after he got want he wanted – are you really going to tell her that she is no longer worth it? She’s already heard that once, and she’s probably damaged from it. Be a better man than that.
A woman’s worth is not caught up in her purity. Her worth is not bound up who the world says she is, or what her past says she was, her worth is found in who God says she is, and He says she’s beautiful. When in the presence of an adulteress caught in the very act of fornication Jesus didn’t throw any stones instead he showed love. When Christ came, his people were given to all sorts of sin and yet he pursues her to the end – he dies for her, he saves to the uttermost. The Church has been used, but Jesus doesn’t see her in her scarlet rags and think she’s hideous, he sees her in her perfected beauty and he tells her “red isn’t your color anymore”; Jesus takes those filthy blood stained rags and replaces them with pure white robes. Sinner isn’t her title anymore, saint is. Slut isn’t part her description, beloved daughter is.
It is not your job to judge her past sins; it is your job to love her in spite of her sinfulness. She’s worth it. Regardless of her past she’s worth it. Jesus thought so.
If you’re a woman and you are struggling with the concept of your worth I highly encourage you to check out http://wearelionhart.com/ it’s a “[G]rassroots movement to empower, inspire, and heal the hearts of young women struggling to know their inherent value.” (I stole this from a recent tweet of their.) A friend of mine helped to start this, I even had her overlook this blog before posting it. You are worth more than you know.