In the aftermath of my post on idolizing virginity and Sarah Bessey's post on being damaged goods, there are some who say we do not have a "holy hatred" for sin. We are told that we are "soft on sin" and, as one commenter said to me, she prays I will one day cherish the virginity God helped me keep.
I want to make something perfectly clear: what we are rejecting is a culture of mass shaming, making a public example of God's precious children and scaring them with fearful rhetoric. What we are rejecting is the fetishizing and idolizing and objectifying of virginity.
Rejecting a culture of shame is NOT being "soft on sin" it is being kind to sinners.
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4 (NASB)
The Greek word translated as "kindness" in this verse is: χρηστός. It is the same word used in St. Matthew 11:30 to describe Jesus' yoke as easy. In Ephesians 4:32, this same word describes Christian behavior: be kind to one another. In I Peter 2:3, this same Greek word is used to describe the Lord as gracious.
Kind, easy, gracious. This is the heart of God toward us.
The Biblical usage for χρηστός is mild, pleasant, benevolent--it is the exact opposite of harsh, sharp and bitter.
Here's the truth: nobody came to a true, authentic understanding of grace and forgiveness through hard, sharp, bitter words and actions. Nobody came to true repentance through threats, intimidation and fear-tactics.
It is the kindness of God which leads to repentance. It is the graciousness of our Lord which draws us closer. It is the the easiness of Jesus' yoke which makes us His devoted followers.
Kindness, grace and easiness make us feel safe, loved and cherished--IN SPITE of what we do or don't do. This χρηστός of God is what frees us from the shackles of fear and shame.
As long as we are bound by shame and crouching in fear, we are unable to experience this shame-free life. And as long as Christians shame and scare each other, we actually hinder the freedom of Christ in others' lives.
Yes, virginity is wonderful. I value it. I tell my children to wait until they are married to have sex. But my husband didn't love me more because I was a virgin. He loved me because I was me.
Our dignity and worth as human beings has NOTHING to do with what we do or don't do.
I am not my first kiss. Or my lack thereof.
I am not my virginity. Or my lack thereof.
I am not my hymen. Or my lack thereof.
I am not my sex life. Or my lack thereof.
I am precious because I exist.
WE are precious simply because WE.ARE.HERE.