Sex Before Marriage

This piece comes by numerous confidential requests. Numerous. You are not alone.

We live in a sexually permissive age.  Your parents grew up in a sexually permissive age.  The gospel was preached throughout the known world in a sexually permissive age.  For all people, of all time, temptations are pretty much the same.  The difficultly in our current, media-driven world, is for Christians to know what is, and is not, acceptable behavior between unmarried people. Let’s start by stating some obvious, if uncomfortable, truths.

It Ain’t About Pregnancy

I have lost count of how many times young people will insist they are virgins because they did not engage in sexual conduct that could result in pregnancy. You can do a lot of sexually pleasurable things without the risk of conception. Meeting the biological definition of virginity does not mean you have never engaged in sexual immorality.  Be honest with yourself and with God.  Then try being honest with your peers.  Insisting you are pure as the driven snow because pregnancy was not possible requires either extraordinary self-deception or a level of naivete that is almost impossible to believe is sincere.

Where’s the Line?

There is a simple question to ask and answer:   “Would we do this in public?”

If the answer is ‘yes’ you can be pretty sure you are staying safe. You can kiss, hug, hold hands, embrace and do many things in public that will not prove an irresistible temptation. If, however, the answer to, “Can we do this in public?”, is ‘no’, then you can be quite certain you’re playing with fire.  No need to pray about whether or not it is sin.  If you can’t do something walking around in the park while families play nearby it is best to save it until after the ring.  If you are not comfortable with your future spouse imagining you in that situation, don’t go there.

Rather than trying to figure out the acceptable parameters in the midst of passionate interaction, determine healthy boundaries before you are in a situation that requires you draw the line.  If you are feeling tempted and tired, go home. Go home alone and send your beloved back to their place, alone, or with an irritatingly present roommate.  Don’t wait until you are exhausted and your judgment is compromised before you decide to call it a night.

What to Do if You Went Too Far

You are defined by the love of God as seen in the face of Jesus Christ, not by your biggest mistakes.  If you went too far, ask forgiveness and start afresh.  Agree with your significant other that you can’t play with fire and expect to be without scars. If your boyfriend or girlfriend is not OK with that, break up.  You might feel you can’t live without them but if the other person loves you and loves the Lord they will respect limits that keep you both safe.

Remember that this is a life-long grace walk.  God’s grace brought you this far. God’s grace will keep you.  Get moving in the right direction and don’t look back.

 

 

Advertisements

Transgenderism

The topic of ‘transgenderism’ might seem new but it is not. There really is nothing new under the sun because people are remarkably the same in every generation. The only difference is we are talking openly about something that has always existed.  The hurt, pain, and rejection that cause and result from gender identity issues are as old as the fall of humanity.

We are created in God’s image, male and female.  We are created in God’s image even if we identify as transgender. Nothing removes that amazing beauty of being His image bearer.  Gender, like age, is not self-determined. We are born with the chromosomal combination that determines whether we are male or female. We may be content with our gender or consider it the source of deep emotional pain but no external physical modifications will alter the chromosomal combination with which we were born. Transgenderism is self-rejection at the most basic level.

Our Common Brokenness

We all struggle in many ways but Jesus does not distance Himself from us no matter how our brokenness manifests itself in our lives. At Calvary He demonstrated that He values everyone such that He paid the penalty for our sin, provided for our healing and paved the way for our reconciliation to God.  He loves us passionately and chose crucifixion rather than leave us in our broken condition. He made a clear path for us all that we might be restored.  No one is exempt from following that path.

In a world that has grown accustomed to hate speech the greatest lie about those struggling with gender identity issues is to say, “God loves you just like everyone else.  However, your pain and struggles are unique so you have to work it out yourself”.

Ministering to those Dealing with Transgenderism

We are ministers of reconciliation, not debate.  Much has been lost over the years by those who hate evil more than they loved good.  Don’t get caught up discussing things which can only distract from the love of God.  We love others and minister to their deepest needs by focusing on how we are the same not by debating our differences.

Gender identity issues or not, we all long to be known and loved, even though we are deeply flawed. Only Jesus can love like that.  Transgender or not, we all must come to the end of ourselves and realize we are powerless to change apart from the grace and mercy of God. The successful businessman who takes pride in his career is no different than the transgender teen trying to find a path in life.  Both are lost and self-deceived apart from the loving grace and healing mercy of Jesus Christ.

We are broken people in a broken world.  Jesus came to heal and restore us and no manifestation of our sin and brokenness is exempt.  We have a testimony that no one can refute,  “Jesus heals our brokenness”. Jesus never shamed the hurting. Shame never transformed anyone but the infinite love and grace of Jesus does.