I was in this uncomfortable Christian meeting recently. The deal was all the married people went to one room to be lectured on how to be married better, and all the unmarried people went to another room and were told not to have sex before marriage because reasons.
Why was it uncomfortable? Because they were talking about …sex…? No! It was because the reasons were terrible, the presentation was dismissive and holier than thou, and mostly just boring and inapplicable.
Lets look the reasons why, as Christians, we should not have sex before/outside of marriage?
- God seems to think monogamy is a good idea.
- why the heck do you need a second reason?
An interesting presentation could have looked like going through scripture. Examining the implications that the man after God’s own heart had hundreds of wives, or that the man who is the Literal Father of God’s Chosen People slept with at least two women while they were both alive. Look at what Jesus said about divorce and lust, and what those he spoke to understood from that. How that has implications today. Look at how Paul addressed the various churches in his letters about sexual immorality, and how he defined it.
We didn’t get that presentation. We were instead bombarded with hours of statistics about self-identified virgin-at-the-wedding divorce rates, happiness-in-marriage anecdotes and what-ifs of those who’d “compromised”, romantic sop about being equally awkward and learning to be not awkward together.
Why is this an issue? Our morality should come from God, through scripture. Though we may see societal or biological reasons that align with our morality, don’t use them as the foundation of your morality. It’s too easy to come up with arguable counter-examples.
That wasn’t what bothered me most about this presentation. No. What made me angry was the implication (possibly unconscious, but definitely there) that being a virgin made you better than unmarried non-virgins. Because you hadn’t crossed this easily drawn line in this one particular sin, you could consider yourself pure and righteous. And those in that room who had. Well. Too bad. Can’t undo that ‘mistake’ kiddo.
Our righteousness is like filthy rags.1 We have no way to make ourselves right in our own strength. “Saving myself for marriage” doesn’t make me a better person, or more pure, or whatever. Sin is sin. All have sinned.2 Just because virginity is easier to define than greed and selfishness, or jealousy, or verbal abuse, or exploitation of workers, or even the broader, messier definition of sexual immorality, doesn’t mean that it’s worse.
We are not pure in our own strength. Our sexual history doesn’t make us pure or not.
Only one thing does.
Christ’s sacrifice is the only righteousness we have that’s worth anything, and it’s worth everything.