“You see this rose?” the teacher said, holding up a large, crimson rose, “Isn’t it beautiful?”
“Now I’m going to pass it around.”
The teacher passed the rose around and everyone looked at it.
“Do you see now how the petals are slightly bruised? Is it still beautiful?”
All said it was.
“What if I step on it? Is it still beautiful?” the teacher stepped on it and rubbed the crimson rose into the ground with his feet, “does anyone want it now?”
The petals were bruised and many had fallen off the rose, leaving blood red stains on the floor. The room was quiet. The rose didn’t look so pretty anymore.
“This is what it is like when you have sex before marriage. It makes you less desirable and a good Christian man won’t want to marry you. Christian men want to marry virgins.”
I finished listening to the teacher. I was around 13 years old. Wide-eyed and eager. Thirsty for any information about this intriguing world of sexuality I was so.keen to experience.
“Great,” I thought, “I just have to not have sex before marriage and that’s how I’ll get to Heaven and attract a super Christian guy!”
* * * * *
Along the way, I was told other stories. Stories of girls who lost their virginity and never recovered from shame. Stories of couples whose sex lives were terrible because they didn’t wait until their wedding night. Promises of never being able to love someone truly once you had given your body to somebody else.
For years, I thought all these were all great motivators. I would tell them to others and pin them on my heart like great, big, golden, badges of honour.
A Christian man would want me.
From many teachers, I kind of got the idea that as long as I didn’t have sex before marriage I would be alright. Never mind the fact I held lustful thoughts in my heart and at times lacklustre faith. I would keep my virginity. That was the prize.
I thought little of this method of teaching and whether it was right or fair, until suddenly, one by one, I heard heartbroken whispers come from the mouths of several women on the other side:
“If only I knew how good sex could be. I guess I’ll never know, because we didn’t wait to have sex until our wedding night.”
“I guess my husband will never love me as much as he could have if he were a virgin when we were married. I will never know what that would have felt like.”
It was then that I realised the problem with using these tactics to keep girls from going “too far” before marriage. While all intentions were good, they offered nothing for the girl who had done wrong or had wrong done to her except guilt and shame.
Here were women who had lost their virginity prior to marriage who thought that because of their past, they were broken beyond repair. They believed they were permanently soiled; doomed to enjoy a less-than-fantastic sexual relationship for the rest of their lives.
I would have been more shocked if I hadn’t previously believed in such ideas.
* * * * *
Therein lies the danger of making an idol out of virginity: it often doesn’t yield a great result and it offers no help to the one who loses it. While I know these teachers had good intentions and were simply trying to motivate us girls to do the right thing, they were neglecting a few key concepts:
Fear is not a good motivator to stay pure.
I get it, parents are afraid that their child will lose his or her virginity and so they try to make their child afraid as well. However, trying to motivate girls to practice abstinence purely out of fear is not a good tactic. Fear is for those who aren’t following Christ out of love. Following God out of fear will result in a very shallow faith. It is a place where faith and obedience can start, but it’s not a place where it can or should stay. Fear is for those who are weak in the faith or aren’t right with God.
A much better way to talk about this is from the standpoint of maintaining purity. God wants us to be pure in every area. Simply avoiding what people think are “the worst sins” is not what God desires for us, nor is simply following Him out of duty.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18 ESV).
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8 KJV).
To watch a video “Can We Have Confidence In Our Salvation?” which talks more about fear and love, click here.
Sex is not forever ruined when virginity is lost.
After I got married and enjoyed sexual intimacy, the veil of mystery was torn away. I realised there wasn’t anything magic or mysterious about it. It was good to start with, yes, but it got better. Married intimacy helped me realise that time can make things great, no matter how broken they were to start with.
Purity enhances your sexual relationship, despite sins of the past. You are one flesh with your husband now and no ex-boyfriend can take that away from you. We have to stop making people feel like they are broken beyond repair when they make a mistake.
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a Father shows compassion to His children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:11-14).
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin […] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7, 9).
Christian men give grace.
Unlike the rose illustration would have you believe, a Christian man will still have a woman who has lost her virginity. Just like God gives grace for the girl who has sinned in the past, so will God’s man.
I asked my husband as I was thinking about this post, “Would you have still married me if I had lost my virginity prior to meeting you?” “Without a doubt,” he said without a moment’s hesitation, and then added, “and so would any guy who understands the grace of God properly. There’s so much more to a person than their past.”
You don’t have to settle for less because you have sinned. In one way or another, we all have sinned and fallen short of His glory. The man who realises this will care far more about present purity than past sin.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23, 24)
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:9, 11).
Virginity will be lost.
Eventually even the pure will lose their virginity if they get married. If we don’t realise that having a healthy sexual relationship with our husband is part of God’s desire for us, we are missing the bigger picture. God’s plan for you isn’t virginity, it’s purity and sanctification. Preparing for virginity to be lost is a very important step for the bride looking to have a successful marriage relationship. Making virginity your goal may very likely cause damage to what could have otherwise been a great start to marriage.
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Hebrews 13:4).
Purity is our goal.
Purity before and after marriage is far more important than virginity. While virginity before marriage is definitely God’s plan, virginity is not our goal. Just as wrong and sinful as having sex with someone you’re not married to (though with a lot fewer consequences) is to have lustful thoughts, fantasise, masturbate, or make out. Fornication is something we are supposed to flee – not merely escape by the “skin of our teeth.”
Making virginity the goal neglects the fact that there are so many sins in between that will put our soul in just as much danger as fornication. Keeping our bodies pure is about so much more than simply not having sex before marriage. Whether or not virginity has been lost, we can, from this point forward, be pure.
“Flee from sexual immorality [fornication]. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)
* * * * *
We aren’t roses that can get crushed and bruised to the point that no one would want us any more. We’re humans, created with souls in the very image of God, set here on earth to seek God and serve him. No matter what our past imperfections are, if we obey God’s plan of salvation and daily strive to be transformed into His image, we will become more and more beautiful and desirable every day.
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:10).
* * * * *
If you would like prayers or someone to talk to, you can contact me. I’ve been lonely and thought I was the only one struggling. I don’t want anyone else to feel like that!
* * * * *