Posted by: JennyRain | January 8, 2010

He said, She said: Purity and Responsibility

In a relationship, it is the man’s responsibility to protect the woman’s purity.

This and other Christian myths will get you pregnant girls! Or at the very least, running to and from a doctor’s office trying to chase away an STD.

When did this myth make it into main-stream Christian thought?

Oh wait, I know… let me drag out Ephesians 5 and proof-text a few lines…

Ephesians 5.25-28 (NIV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives…

Yup, there it is… the scripture that somehow proves that men are completely responsible for guarding a woman’s purity.

One scripture. Pulled from its context to prove that a man is responsible for my purity.

Once we have successfully proven our truth-claim we the faithful then build tradition-isms upon this scripture and call it dating-law.

For instance, most of us gals at some point in our dating life have heard this taught,

“Now sweetie, if you go out with Mr. Maybe and he does not guard your purity, it is a red-flag. You need to just run girl RUN! And don’t look back. He ain’t nevah gonna change.”

Does anyone but me feel like we have missed half of the story here ladies? I mean, pardon me for my lack of wisdom perhaps, but I get a more worried if Mr. Maybe is not at least trying to smoochy-smoochy. ***

Can I get an amen?

(***Please see the Warning at the bottom of the post ***)

 

Somewhere along the way in my dating life, I woke up from my palace bed, took off the tiara, and stepped into the real world of relationships.

I learned that if I wanted purity to happen in a relationship – I had to pursue it as much as my partner did. That simple discovery revolutionized my dating life!

To think that I could actually regain control over my own body was liberating! To think that someone else no longer held the reigns to my success or failure in attaining my own purity standards was exhilarating. To learn that God actually commanded me to do this was even more freeing!

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body….You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:18, 20)

The realization that – with God’s help – I am in charge of my own purity gave me back my ability to stay true to my heart and my values, and in doing so, helped me stay true in body, mind, and Spirit to the God I loved.

I no longer had to wake up ashamed after “letting” someone else push past my boundaries. I was free to choose to guard my own purity.


I realized that God does not call me to be responsible for someone else’s body. God only calls me to be responsible for my own body.

So if I am not responsible for someone else’s body, why in the world should I think that God is calling someone else to be responsible for mine? That is a bunch of bunk!

When you are standing at the pearly gates and God asks, “So, can we talk about what happened in the back seat of your Honda with Johnny the Jock in 2005?”

Do you think blaming your lack of self-control on Johnny is going to fly with the Creator of the Universe? I’m just sayin…

Men being men.

Now I say all of this in full awareness that it takes two to tango.

Men you have to man up when it comes to purity. We as a church have relied way too heavily on women taking the lead. You do have a responsibility to pursue God and pursue purity.

You are not exempt from working towards purity because God commands you to guard your purity too.

But the good  news is, if the two of you are working in partnership taking responsibility for your own bodies and taking responsibility for the relationship there is a very good chance that the two of you will stay pure.

Yet – that being said – I do believe that we as women of the church have done our sisters a great dis-service by promoting the myth of “purity-only-through-the-man.”

In encouraging each other to believe that the man is solely responsible for maintaining purity we hinder our sisters from learning that each of us has the God-given ability and right to maintain our own physical boundaries.

We are made instantly pure in the Beloved. We are not made pure by man.

Humans cannot grant purity to each other. If this was humanly possible, we would not have needed the perfect, unblemished lamb of God to atone for the impurities we present Him with.

Humans cannot maintain purity. It is a gift only God can give to us.

But once it is given… we are each called to steward it.

Whether we are single, newly single, separated, married, engaged, or divorced… purity is something that is available to each of us. A gift in the Beloved.

Purity is a gift that I have found worth cherishing, guarding, and protecting because it is precious and valuable. And it is a gift that no matter how far we might have strayed from our own personal boundaries, is still available to us from our Heavenly Father.

***Warning: If a man you are with does not take no for an answer, if he shows a consistent disregard for your physical, emotional, or spiritual boundaries, or if he gets violent… then run… cuz chances are “he ain’t evah gonna change.” But this type of behavior is a far cry from a little smoochy-smoochy. Dating violence will be covered more in a future series.***

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