Have contemporary Christian mindsets separated you from the hope, forgiveness, and authentic purity in Christ you could be enjoying (in spite of the many other times you have failed)?
I’m writing this after listening to a 28.5 minute teaching video by Sarah Schwartz.
Some of what Sarah teaches is a fresh, new perspective for me. And much of it, refreshed a perspective I already had, but I needed a reminder of its relevance. She, boldly, addressed a truckload of lies commonly taught in respectable churches about sexual purity. She discussed the damage those lies do to people—especially women. If I heard and understood her right, I agree with everything she taught. But I would like to give my own take on what Sarah shared in her video. I do—freely—admit that in the past, I perpetuated a false mindset regarding sexual purity. Yet, my personal research and journey in God has taught me otherwise—much of which, I address in my book To Kill a Lion: Destroying the Power of Lust From the Root.
Sarah challenges the concept of purity, which many Christians embrace. In many ways, these concepts stand in contrast to the teachings of Christ. She says she has heard of those who lost their virginity being referred to as chewed-up gum, a used car, an irreversible ruin. But one has to ask, what about victims of rape? Are they irreparably damaged goods? Did they lose their purity because they were victims to something outside of their will? And why is losing your virginity a greater sin for girls than guys? Women who have sex, it is said, “give away what belongs to their husband.” While the same standard, Sarah says, is less frequently, if at all, applied to male violators.
Although the motives of many mentors in Christianity have been noble, I agree with Sarah that some have misrepresented Christ and Truth in many ways. They use tactics of fear, guilt, and shame to motivate people to stay, what they call pure. My interest in this particular thought process stems from the incredible response I have gotten from women who have read To Kill a Lion.
In To Kill a Lion, I, too, address a truckload of lies about sexual purity—lies that hinder men from the true purity they crave. What I didn’t know, is that hosts of women would sneak into its pages and extract the same truth, hope, and victory for themselves.
Are virgins pure?
A few decades ago, I was confronted by an older counselor in my counseling office, of all places! He wasn’t impressed with the fact that I had walked in, unblemished, resistance to the lustful devices of this world since becoming a Christian decades before. He, basically, called me a sexual addict. The reason was that, although I didn’t give in to lustful gratification, inside, I wanted to—and I fought tooth-and-nail to keep the lion of lust in my heart, in its cage.
Was I pure? Sure, it was great that I didn’t act upon the lust, but this senior counselor was seeing purity in a different light—a condition of the heart and not a condition of my actions. What this man, rightfully, accused me of was having outward purity withoutinward purity. If purity is a condition of the heart, and it is, I wasn’t walking in purity.
Fear and guilt tactics can keep a person from acting upon the sin, but effectively biting-the-bullet doesn’t make one pure. What makes one pure is identification with the One who is pure—Jesus Christ, who trades our impurity for His righteousness
I understand the passion of people-helpers and world-changers—who attribute immorality or sexual lust to so much of the world’s evils—trafficking, victimization online, abortion, and on and on. But what these well-meaning, yet, misguided people do is pattern themselves somewhat after lawmakers who hate the casualties resulting from people driving under the influence. Therefore, they aim to—raise the punishment—turn up the burner—create more fear. The problem is that embellishing moral indiscretion with threats of excessive consequences in an attempt to stop the sin leaves violators subjected to the tormentors of shame, guilt, and hopelessness.
None of the above softens immorality. My intention is to give you hope if, for whatever reason, you haven’t been able to find hope on the other side of sexual sin or violation. There is hope for every person, for every sin. Purity is a condition of the heart and Christ Jesus is the one who gives, “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3).
Has the enemy of your soul attempted to make you feel like chewed-up gum? Have you been a victim of the mindset that puts you, as a woman, in a category outside of the total cleansing, healing, and restoration that Christ died for? Perhaps you live with daily regret for having chosen to be immoral in your past, or you live wounded by how another person used you sexually?
My, we’ve done injustice to you, women! But you can say goodbye once and for all to guilt, shame, and fear, and embrace the finished work that Christ provides for you. Once and for all, accept your purity in Christ. Say this prayer:
Heavenly Father, in the name of your Son, Jesus, I come to you to lay my guilt, shame, fear, and regret at the cross, once and for all. I break my agreement with Satan who comes to torment me with thoughts that you already died to take away. Now, I fully receive your healing, your restoration, and your purity because my heart is pure, and my righteousness is found in You! I thank you for this, oh God, my Savior!