By Pastor Paula Burchill
Our culture is loud and clear about what it believes about sex. It means both nothing and everything. It means nothing because you can have it with whomever currently turns you on—there are apparently no consequences and no boundaries. And it means everything because why would you not be having it as much as possible? It is the goal of any relationship, of any date really. And also, sex is all about YOU. What you get out of it and how it makes you feel.
Don’t think your kids aren’t getting that message. Even the sit coms that are on at 8 pm preach it to them. My kids like to listen to a radio program that has a “Second Date Update.” On it, if someone “hooks up” after meeting a date in a bar, they are applauded. Yes, I said my kids listen to it—if I don’t get it turned off in time. And then I hear myself trying to tell them that people are fooling themselves if they think sex means nothing. But I fear that I am a small voice in a world that is broadcasting to them at every turn values that can’t even really be called values.
And it isn’t just kids. Marriages are ruined by pornography. Sex trafficking is at an all-time high.
So why is the church so quiet?
The church has certainly sent mixed and even harmful messages about sex. But the truth is, God invented sex and God means it to be enjoyed for a lifetime within a marriage. If you don’t think God thinks sex is wonderful, read what is in the Song of Songs, a love poem written by a young man for his new bride in the middle of the bible: Beloved, awake north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad. Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. [4:16]
God and the church also put sex in its proper place. We don’t worship sex—we don’t believe sex means absolutely everything. But we also don’t believe it means nothing. Sex is making two people one. It is vital in a marriage and it should be cared for. And it is also about sacrifice. Sex is better when partners are unselfish, putting each other’s needs over their own.
In that sense it is like the way faith works in our lives. It is ironic but the more we give of ourselves to God, the more free we are to share our selves with others. Think about this as a parent—when you love your child freely, seeing them as a beloved gift that you absolutely cherish, your kids become secure in who they are. And they are then able to love others freely because they know that they are loved. I have read that girls who had a dad who loved them and cherished them are far less likely to engage in sex at a young age than those who did not have a dad who loved and cherished them.
I wish the church would proclaim more loudly what a gift sex is! I really do. I wish our kids would hear that God has something so special in store for them, but it won’t be special if they believe what culture tells them. In fact, they will be cheated and feel empty.
We have something to say. And even though it is embarrassing and scary and hard to talk about, I pray we can try. Because there is another voice that the world desperately needs to hear.