For a culture that’s all about doing whatever’s right for you, it’s sure not a fan of waiting until you get married to have sex. In fact, it’s completely tolerant of doing whatever you want with whomever you want as often as you want wherever you want, just as long as you’re actually doing it.
The result? A lot of women with deep-seated emotional problems and a lot of cold-hearted men . . . and yet no one can seem to figure out why.
Christians aren’t without fault on this one either. A recent study indicates that “80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults (18 to 29) said that they have had sex – slightly less than 88 percent of unmarried adults.” True love, apparently, doesn’t really wait.
Waiting is difficult. There’s no getting around that.
Very, very difficult.
But just because something’s difficult doesn’t mean we give up or give in. We struggle, we pray, we plow through this life in faith that our Lord has a good plan and a good purpose for our lives.
At the same time, it’s easy to fall off the other side of the horse, to judge those who know what’s right and don’t to care, or to look down on those who may have slipped up just once.
C. S. Lewis speaks to this pride, noting that sexual sins are often seen as the most grotesque, the most awful, when, in fact, sins against the Spirit are to be feared more. There’s more hope for the Christian who sleeps with his girlfriend one night and immediately feels awful and repents, he says, than an atheist who sleeps around and could care less.
So, how do we as a church reclaim holding out for marriage? How do we teach our ladies that just because a guy takes you out to dinner doesn’t mean he has the right to take what belongs to her future husband? How do we teach our young men that “making each other wait may mean going against the post-sexual-revolution norm” while simultaneously reminding them that “people, unlike animals, have the capacity to rise above herd mentality”?
We pray. We repent. We spend lots of time in God’s Word. We receive the Sacrament regularly. We talk about it. We talk about it with our kids when they’re young. We don’t fall prey to the “Well, they’re going to have sex anyway, so I may at least tell them how to be protected.”
We tell our young women about their worth and their value. We tell our young men what it means to be a man. We lift up the values of waiting. And we wait with them.
Meanwhile, the church keeps churning out good pastors. Parents keeps being faithful parents. Friends keep correcting friends in love. And so we soldier on.
6 thoughts on “waiting with them”
Waiting is good however knowing how to love yourself and keep waiting when you have committed sexual sin. This is important. Jesus offers heeling he knows everything we have ever done and he love us. He wants us to know this love to reconcile and live a new day. This too is important for our community and what the Gospel is about embracing the hurting and the broken ones. Finding the lost sheep and drawing them close.
Thank you for this post. With marriage at the lowest rate ever and one in four children being born out of wedlock, it seems to me that it is time for the church to address the issue of premarital sex. Your comment “But just because something’s difficult doesn’t mean we give up or give in.” is right on. By the way, do you read the Ezerwoman blog on wordpress? You two seem to share an understanding of the importance of raising our expectations for Christians to lead godly lives.
Thanks be to God for your posts!!
What troubles me more than anything is the number of Pastors who fail or refuse to address this. The culture is the culture. What’s new? And it will always try to influence the church. But when the representatives of Christ refuse to speak, then we have a huge problem and a silent endorsement. This last summer I did a presentation at a Higher Things conference on “Premarital Sex and Cohabitation.” Ironically, the only negative feedback I received was from a fellow Pastor who said I was uncharitable towards other Pastors by saying that the reasons they don’t address these issues are: either fear or laziness. I stand by my assertion. And yes, right beside all this ought to be the admonition to parents and grandparents to have the courage to speak up to their kiddos!
Agreed! The whole “they’re going to do it anyway” attitude makes me mad, and frankly I find it insulting to teenagers & young adults, implying that they are no better than animals who lack self-control. My husband and I married really young (19!) and I’ll admit, part of our motivation was wanting to “seal the deal”, knowing we’d be married eventually anyway we thought, why wait any longer? Although I was surprised at how many people suggested we try living together before committing to marriage–apparently committing to marriage so young is “crazy”, but sharing your body before deciding to commit isn’t. We’d been together since 15–so clearly I disagree with anyone who says teens can’t control themselves. And I agree with Brody who says it might not be such a bad idea to encourage (or at least not discourage) people to marry younger.
This topic reminds me of why I stopped watching Glee. I was SO angry when Gwyneth Paltrow’s character mocked one of the teenagers promoting celibacy as being “naive and possibly frigid.”
Modern popular opinion says to study hard, go to college, get a career, and then get married and after a few years you can have a baby. This view is mainstream even among Christians. The results speak for themselves: 80%. And the 80% are only the unmarried ones willing to admit to “having sex,” the true numbers may be higher.
Paul in 1 Corinthian 7:9 states: “if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”. How many young adults have that kind of self-control?
Maybe we should encourage our children to marry earlier? Maybe we should take a more active role in searching for a potential spouse? Maybe we should give the same level of finical support to a married child as to a single one, or make sure they know that we are willing?
Last time I saw anything about it, the simple truth of the dangers of STDs was starting to undo the “sexual revolution.” Not even condoms can prevent the transmission of herpes or genital warts, and nothing is a complete assurance against the horrifying threat of AIDS.
Although certainly, it doesn’t hurt to be honest with young people about the dangers, both spiritual and physical, of sex outside of marriage, we need to be careful to remember God’s love, and the Gospel when dealing with young people. Mistakes will be made, but Christ came to save sinners. Everyone is welcome in His church, and all are free to receive His gifts of forgivingness through baptism and absolution. Not to say that this is common among Lutherans, but we must be careful not to let sex become the “especially bad” sin that prevents someone from seeking forgiveness in our churches.
On the other hand, I’ve seen a few cases where the law in promises of abstinence and purity rings were used to the exclusion of the gospel. For those who discover that, despite their best intentions, they are still sinners, this can be destructive. The law can only kill.