I love Song of Solomon, I’m so deeply grateful God breathed such a beautiful and clear book of a holy, intimate, loving relationship between a man and woman so deeply in love… That beautiful picture of young love was far from my young reality. See, I am one of the 1 in 4 women and (I know many of the 1 in 6 men) whose first sexual experience wasn’t beautifully crafted; it wasn’t a Genesis 2:24-25 one flesh, no shame moment. My first sexual experience wasn’t my choice.
I struggled for years through the myriad of emotional and physical manifestations that resulted from the decisions made that violated me, as well as the later decisions I made that allowed me to be violated. Some of my early sexual experiences were not my choice, some of my later sexual experiences were my choice. But none of those early sexual encounters were ones that God had dreamed up for His creation. And when I came into a relationship with God, I needed a Church to walk with me through my brokenness, questions, anger, regret, and healing.
More often than I’d like to admit, church folks could not look past the sin committed to me and the sin committed by me to see the hurt, lost person searching for restoration and in need of a Savior. It breaks my heart that those outside of our faith community understand the Church as it is being defined by people who sit in pews who often ignore the call to be “rooted and established in love” (Ephesians 3:17). My daughter’s Bible so eloquently describes God as having a “never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love”. Funny that my toddler is being constantly reminded of a message that is lost in grown up church. Let us not lose sight of that love and our call to be rooted in it bearing its fruit.
Church, I beg of you to please consider the brokenness of our world when you address sexuality from the pulpit. Don’t assume things about the past and present of those in your pews, youth groups, and small groups. If we talk about premarital sex, we must discuss it in light of the harsh realities of our fallen world; sexual molestation, rape and the perversion that saturates every waking moment of our lives from television to the internet, from movies to magazines.
What if, instead of taking such strong stands on sexual issues, we challenged one another as Christ followers to be known by what we stand for—not what we are against? What if in place of the ‘just say no’ messages, we relayed the importance of building God honoring, healthy, loving relationships? What if we talked about how to actually have healthy relationships? What if we preached that no one is so far gone that they can’t experience healthy love?
When we focus on what we stand for, we are able to view everyone in the light of the cross, where we so graciously stand.
Oh sweet Church, we cannot change the reality that we live in a perverse, fallen world. We can, however, raise up men and women who are able to engage with people in the midst of their brokenness.
What if we raised up fellow Christ-followers who were sensitive to those who have been abused? What if we raised up men and women who could walk with those who are having sex outside of marriage and seek to truly understand the root causes of their choices? What if we came alongside of people and expressed grace and love?
Church, let’s take the challenge to truly follow Christ, to sit at the well with someone and offer water to their parched soul. Let’s challenge them to make a lasting change rooted in a new life, while remaining acutely aware of the grace and forgiveness we have received so that we can express it to those Christ has brought into our lives.
An anonymous pew-mate