Originally published Tuesday, 04 June 2013.
I rarely watch television talk shows, but was flipping through the channels the other day and happened upon a talk show doing a piece of the now-popular “Purity Ball.” If you are not familiar, Purity Balls are held in venues around the country, whereby a daughter in her pre-teens or early teens is escorted by her father to an evening event with music, dancing, a nice dinner, etc. The ball ends when the daughter takes a pledge to live her life in sexual purity and presents this pledge to her father, who also commits to help her in that journey.
As is the case with much mainstream media today, this talk-show host (and much of the audience) was tearing to shreds the guests who had signed the agreement and attended the events. I was infuriated. Comments such as “Purity isn’t a reality in 2013,” “Sex outside marriage is not wrong,” and “Abstinence doesn’t work" were followed with an eruption of applause from the audience.
It really got me to think about purity. As a mom of teenagers and a ministry leader who works with thousands of singles worldwide, this is certainly a hot-button issue for me.
The truth is, the previous comments are the common consensus of most of today’s anything-goes society. Although almost 80 percent of the country identifies themselves as Christians, sex outside marriage has become a common occurrence and is glossed over as an event of little consequence. And, if I’m being totally transparent, I would tell you that, at an earlier point in my own life, I felt the same as most of the studio audience that day.
At 13 years old, I was the only virgin I knew! Everyone around me was having sex. I held out as long as I could (or so I thought), and mostly due to peer pressure, I became sexually active. For me, it was a horrific, embarrassing, and shameful experience. I resolved I would never do it again, but peer pressure persisted, and my relationship with the Lord dwindled. Before I even knew what was happening. ... I was pregnant four times by 19 years old! I would love to tell you that that ended my bout with sexual impurity, but it lasted well into my twenties.
So the question becomes, does purity really matter?
- I would say that to the 51 percent of babies who are born to unwed mothers today who live in poverty, it matters.
- I would say that to the 13 percent of teens who will contract a sexual transmitted disease this year, purity matters.
- To the 22 percent of babies who were aborted last year (and to their moms), it matters.
- To the 15+ million single moms in the country, many of which are unwed single moms, purity matters.
- To the 500,000 teens who attempt suicide every year (many due to failed sexual relationships & the emotional distress that accompanies them), it matters!
The reality of sexual purity is simply this: Our Heavenly Father loves us more than we could ever know. His desire isn’t to deprive us of a life full of joy, fun, excitement, and happiness. Just as a parent’s desire isn’t to deprive their 4-year-old child of fun when disciplining them for running into the street after a ball, God knows what is best for us. When we wait and do things in his timing, his way, the long-term blessings far exceed any temporal joy.
Purity is attainable. It is sustainable. And it is where true freedom is found -- the freedom of knowing that your Heavenly Father has your life all figured out and you are happy to just take the ride.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker who has a passion to see women living the life God intended. She is founder of the international non-profit, The Life of a SIngle Mom, and has been featured on hundreds of radio and television programs. For more information, visit http://www.jennifermaggio.com.