There’s a saying that goes like this: “every great love story ends in tragedy.” Consider Romeo and Juliet. They throw caution to the wind to be together and make easy, heart-defining choices to have secret moments of bliss against their family’s wishes. In the end, they commit suicide because their relationship is opposed. It’s an applauded classic love story, but where’s the sunset? Where’s the happily ever-after? And where’s their pulse? It’s not the kind of love story you want to have your name in it.
What kind of love story are you writing with your life?
My best-selling book And the Bride Wore White is full of what I call celebration stories. Some are stories of brides who never kissed before their wedding day and others are stories of brides who were sexually broken before they graduated highschool. How can they all be celebration stories?
Let me tell you!
Girls, we can’t wear anything we want. God’s words says that if we love him, we will obey him and he wants us to wear certain things and not others. And HE…not the guy…is the ultimate reason we live modestly. I realize that all too many books on modesty & purity risk suggesting that if you’re just a good Christian girl who wears her chastity belt and a silver ring on her left index finger, your prince charming will come. Without even realizing it, you might make a deal with God: I’ll give my heart to You, and You send a husband my was. But RESPECT FOR GOD, not a guy is the goal. The point of modesty and purity is not to showcase yourself for a godly guy, but to showcase GOD to the world!
The feminine modesty texts are about sexual allurement and direct a woman to demonstrate self-control and respect in the way she presents herself. But does this mean men are off the hook? And am I saying that if women dress modestly, men will not lust.
Girls, it’s great if you read this, but today I want to talk to guys. And moms of guys. And girlfriends of guys. And sisters of guys. And any woman that can influence one.
If any guys happen to be reading this I should probably start with this: don’t dress like the Abercrombie guy and for the love of all things decent pull your pants up over your boxers!
(Imagine deafening eruptions of cheers from the women reading this!)
But that’s not what I really want or need to communicate today.
Because it’s not what God’s word instructs me to say.
Here’s what I really have to say, guys: your lust is your responsibility. Period.
Is Christian culture sometimes formed more by secular lines of thinking than by biblical truth. Third wave feminism has posited the thought that teaching purity and modesty is a form of misogyny BECAUSE it is largely directed at women. They have even gone on the record that teaching modesty promotes rape culture. Does teaching modesty promote “rape culture”? A better question to begin with is this: does “rape culture” even exist?
Last year, a TIME Magazine article declared that it was “Time To End Rape Culture Hysteria.” Writer Caroline Kitchens championed the report of the nations leading anti-sexual violence organization, RAINN, which rebuked the overemphasis on the concept of “rape culture” as a means of preventing rape, citing that 90% of rapes on college campuses are committed by 3% of the male population. RAINN argues that rape is the product of individuals who have decided to disregard the overwhelming cultural messages that rape is wrong.
The fact is rape crime is on the decline. The National Crime Victimization Survey indicates that rape occurrence in the 1980’s was 2.4 per 1000 people. Now it is .4 per 1000. Even RAINN reports that sexual assault has fallen by more than 50% in recent years. That makes it no less vile, but it does mean we aren’t living in a rape culture.
The “modesty promotes rape culture” idea is a feminist dogma. It is scripture that should be informing the Christian conversation on sexuality, modesty, purity, and sex crimes; not the leading voices of third wave feminism.
Respect is at the heart of God’s intention for sexual expression. Lean in while I unveil to you one of the best-kept secrets in the Bible: a single word. The Hebrew word for sex. The Old Testament uses the word yada for sex. It means “to know, to be known, to be deeply respected.”
God’s very definition of sex transcends the physical act and emphasizes emotional knowing and an exchange of respect. Respect of others, and even of ourselves, requires self-control. This is one, though not the only reason, that our sexual lives must be characterized by self-control.
Morality aside, sex thrives in an atmosphere of control and respect. A study referenced in Sex in America found those having both the hottest and most frequent sex were not college co-eds with a variety of sexual partners but middle-aged people who embraced mutual lifetime monogamy out of respect for themselves and their partners. Another study concluded having more partners in their lifetime actually predicted less sexual satisfaction for men. Sexual self-control makes sense for both moral and practical reasons. You wanna have a great sex life? It’s got to begin with self-control.