Sunday, September 22, 2013

Popularity, Pop-Culture, and Purity

I Thessalonians 4:3
God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from sexual sin.
They need you to be bold and brave, and not shy away from talking to them about something that we didn’t discuss when we were growing up. Yes, I’m talking about sex.  Teenagers have recreational sex coming at them from every media outlet and social network.  Compare an episode of Happy Days to an episode of How I Met Your Mother, and you will see how much television has changed as far as discussing sexual activity.  Long gone are the days when Fonzie would allude to having a girl sleep over in his apartment.  Now, the characters are berated and ridiculed if they come home after a date, instead of sleeping over or bringing someone home.
They need you to take advantage of teachable moments and talk to them about society’s view of sex, the objectification of women, and God’s plan for sexuality.  Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are full of young women posting photos of themselves in little clothing, posed like a Kardashian so that every curve is seen.  Be a strong advocate and start these discussions.  It can be uncomfortable, but it is needed.
They need you to let them know that sex is intended to be an emotional connection of intimacy between two people that are willing to share their ENTIRE lives with each other, not just a way to pass the time on a Saturday night.  God wants us to be holy.  The word “holy” means worthy of complete devotion.  If we keep our sexual life holy, that means we are only sharing it with someone that has complete devotion in a relationship. 
They need you to let them know that the idea of being “popular” in high school with the boys because of sexual activity isn’t a new concept and it has been scarring women for years.  There is a double standard for girls.  It isn’t fair that the girl is labeled “easy” and the boy is heralded as a hero, but that’s the way it is, and that’s the way it has been for a long time.  Things such as wearing different colors of lipstick, nail polish or bracelets to signify how far they are willing to go with a boy is not showing self-respect and just feeds the fire of young men seeking to use them.  This is starting as early as age 12, because some girls want to lose their virginity just to get it over with, so they will be experienced.   
They need you to tell them that sexual purity is a gift to their future spouse.  The culture has changed as far as acceptance of sexual immorality, but God’s word hasn’t changed.  It isn’t uncommon to hear of girls asking their youth pastors how far they can go sexually before it isn’t okay.  They need to hear that they are worth the wait, and we can’t just rely on pastors to tell them.
They need you to encourage them even if you failed to live out this plan in your own life.   You might cringe when you read this, because you remember your own choices and know that you didn’t preserve yourself for your husband.  That can be a regret that is hard to shake.  Don’t allow yourself or others to remind you of that, and convince you that you aren’t worthy to talk to others about it.  God’s grace turns mistakes from shame into something with purpose.  Allow Him to do this through you.  The younger generation does watch the older generation, so we need to set the example.
They need to know that it isn’t too late!    God can redeem anything!  Jesus sacrificed Himself and suffered tremendously so that we can be redeemed.  Even if that line of sexual purity has been crossed, it can be forgiven and you can start over anew thanks to God’s plan of salvation. 
They need you to pray for them.  Pray that they would love and respect themselves, not craving attention in a way that could harm them emotionally and sometimes even physically with diseases.   Pray that they will know that they are worthy, and don’t need to gain “love” by doing things with guys and then telling the world about it.
Some of these things might shock you, but I assure you that “lipstick parties”, comments such as “If you don’t’ have sex, what do you do when you’re together?”, the codes for different colors of nail polish, etc. are all very real and not uncommon.  While many of us had pregnancy as our main concern in our youth, it’s now STDs that are developing at such a rate that medicine can’t keep up with treatments.  Many of these have life-long lasting effects that teenagers can’t comprehend.  I encourage you to open up a discussion with a young woman in your life, and be willing to really discuss these things with them.  At the least, you will know that they are hearing the truth as uncomfortable as it might be for both of you.
Passages to Ponder:
I Corinthians 6:18- Run from sexual sin!  No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does.  For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.
Titus 2:12- And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures.  We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God.
Psalm 30:1- I will exalt you, O Lord, for you rescued me.  You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.
Karen Bromby, Monica Brown, Kathy Derda, Jodi Dunbar, Kim McClure, Marla McDonald, and Kristy Tolley

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