Why We Should Throw Purity Analogies Out the Window
Purity analogies–maybe you too have heard them growing up.
I’ll be the first to admit I’ve rattled them off more times than I can count when talking about purity.
These are just some of the common ones I’ve heard (and used) over the years:
“Before you have sex, you are like a….
1. A fresh piece of tape
2. A beautiful rose
3. A new piece of gum
And if you have sex before marriage…
1. “You’ve attached yourself to multiple partners and now you are no longer sticky. When your spouse comes along, you’ll have so many remains of other “papers” that your ability to stick to them will be gone.”
2.”You’ve been handled over and over and now you’re like a trampled, beat up rose with no appeal. Would you give this rose to your spouse?
3.”Now, you’re like a piece of gum that has been all chewed up and lost its flavor.”
Recently, I heard one of these analogies used and I couldn’t help but think:
“Why the HECK do I still say these?”
I think we should throw them out the widow because…
#1. There is no redemption in these analogies.
I had one question running thorough my mind as I listened:
WHERE. IS. THE. G O S P E L?
It’s not there.
I do not see it.
A piece of used tape cannot become sticky again, a trampled rose cannot magically regain its scent and its beautiful appearance, and a piece of chewed gum by no means can become flavorful again.
All of these things become disposable. They cannot be useful ever again.
Why would we describe this sin as something that is excluded from the grace and redemption of God? There is absolutely no hope presented in these analogies. No hope for a good future, a good marriage, sexual healing- none of it.
I am not in any way minimizing having sex before marriage. Sexual sin is one committed against your own body that does have consequences. It comes with its own kind of baggage. Because that’s what sin does. It creates baggage. It’s weighty, it messes life up, ruins things and lies to us about what will make us feel good.
But here’s the thing.
The Good News of the Gospel is that no sin is beyond Christ’s redemption when we bring it to Him with a repentant heart. When we repent and turn away from our sin, He is ridiculously faithful to forgive us.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
He really does make us new. He restores us and it works. He disposes of our sin, but He doesn’t dispose of us. He doesn’t leave us the way He found us. (Thank God).
Furthermore, God in His grace still continues to give us good things even when we have done absolutely nothing to deserve it and everything to rebel against Him. Because that is who He is- He’s so good. He is the in the business of redemption and we should be too.
#2. They teach people to be driven by fear instead of love for God.
These comparisons strike fear into those who have not done it and shame on those who have.
“If you do this.. You will become useless. No man/woman is going to want you.”
This is missing the mark.
The point isn’t to abstain from sex so that someone will want you more later.
That’s a type of behavior modification which makes fear the driving force of why you don’t do something. We don’t want to encourage people to be driven by fear but rather by LOVE for God by honoring Him with our body, purity and integrity.
We don’t have to use scare tactics or use shame as a tool to get people to listen. Talking about the importance, reasoning and design for sex while bringing correction, rebuke and truth about sexuality is essential and very needed.
But the difference is God’s discipline is good—Shame is not.
#3. They imply that your value and worth come from what you’ve done… or haven’t done.
The objects used in these illustrations end up losing their value, purpose, and beauty because of something they did. This sends the message to those that have had premarital sex that their mistakes cost them their value as a person.
What about those who haven’t? Does this mean that their value, worth and beauty come solely from not having sex? Really? Is abstinence the deciding factor of one’s identity? Worth? Value? I don’t think so.
Our ultimate identity comes from the security we have Christ and His sacrifice for us- His actions made on behalf of ours. We didn’t deserve it and even our best decisions don’t give us any credits towards earning righteousness. All of these things should find their root in Jesus and what HE did for us. In reality—That’s all that counts.
#4. They’re just plain degrading
A trampled rose? Spit saturated gum? Gross tape?
If we’re really trying to get people to hear us and understand the importance of purity, maybe we shouldn’t compare them to disgusting, throwaway objects?
Just a thought.
Growing up, some of the most meaningful conversations I had with people about purity was not when they pointed at me and told me how unfortunate my life would be if I had sex before marriage. I was more impacted and inspired by those who sat me down, looked me in the eye and told me their stories. They told me what sex was designed for and exposed the lies that the World was trying to sell me. They told me that sex inside the bounds of marriage was a gift–something that can be done in complete and total security. No guilt. No shame. Total freedom. Their raw and real testimonies made more of an impact on me than an impersonal analogy.
There are so many other ways to talk about sex than by using these hurtful and degrading analogies. In a sex-enthused culture, we DO need to teach on purity, integrity, and sexuality. A lot. But let’s do it in a way that shows genuine care and concern for people’s lives and pasts, not in a way that provokes shame.