I’m concerned about the moral ambiguity of my generation. I’m concerned about the harm and pain that is caused from failing to set boundaries and from failing to value precious gifts. I want to share my own story because I think it’s important to be honest, especially now.
When I was a young teenager, I set a rule in my own life to live by. I would not kiss a boy until I was engaged to him and I would not have sex until I was married. This rule was influenced by many factors, The Bible, my parents, my church, and youth organizations. The real point was that I knew what limit I had set and it helped to set my decisions. As a teenager I had several opportunities to break my self-made rule, but I did not.
In college, I dated several different guys. They were each respectful of my boundaries and I am grateful and honor them for that. When I dated my husband, he respected my boundaries as well. After we had been dating for about five months, he was going to be gone for a week or two on a trip out of the country. We said goodbye and both were very broken up about our parting. He managed, with much effort, to cancel his trip and showed up at my family’s doorstep to see if he could spend that time with me instead. At that moment I knew that he loved me. He valued me more than his own plans and dreams. We were not engaged, but I knew that we would be. I kissed him.
We continued to date, and were eventually engaged. We were both virgins until after our wedding vows were made; promising to be faithful to each other until death. Together we made our vows. Together we sealed them. Together we keep them.
I tell this story not to brag on myself: quite the opposite. I was torn by my desires many times over the years from the point that I made my choice until now. At times I longed to go beyond my rule. I cared for my boyfriends, why shouldn’t I kiss them? I didn’t keep my rule because I was self-disciplined or good. I am sure that the only way I kept that promise was because I had asked God what I should do, and I continued to ask Him for his help and grace throughout the years. I believed that God’s way was the best choice I could make.
My generation has not all followed what God said about sex and marriage. But I can promise that those who have slept with multiple partners, lived together before marriage, had affairs during marriage, experienced break-ups, divorces, and separations: you have endured pain. That road is a road that God did not want you to have to travel, and will help you to stay off of in the future. He will forgive you and bring you through the heartache, the loneliness, and the loss. Only Jesus can carry it all for you. Only Jesus can give you the power and grace to walk with moral confidence and courage. I believe in living a moral and proper life, but I also believe that it is impossible apart from God being involved and at work in your life. Choosing to believe God is the first and most important decision that anyone: child, teen, or adult can make. I hope that making that choice will help you to make other wise choices, including living a life of morality, for your own sake and the sake of those you love.
They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
Romans 1:25-32 (NLT)
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
Romans 3:21-26 (NLT)