Is the church sending women the wrong message?

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Published in the March 29, 2017 issue of The Bells

Humans have the unique ability to communicate, record, and understand each other in ever-deepening ways with language.
We’ve used these methods of communication to make movies, write poetry and songs, and convey news to the masses. The Lord uses it to bring us into a deeper understanding of himself, and churches use it to encourage revival.

But are we, as the church, conveying the proper message with some of the words we speak to our women?
I know avid church goers, family members and pastors have the right idea. They want to encourage chastity and purity by giving women an incentive: stay pure for your husband. Nobody wants damaged goods or low hanging fruit.
Matthew 5:8 says, “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

I’m not trying to undercut the Bible. Purity in all forms is definitely important. I’ve also heard enough sermons to know how satisfying it is to wait until marriage.
However, should we be teaching women from a young age that they are somehow less worthy of love and affection because of their past experiences? That their only motivation for purity should be to actualize a fantasy for her future husband? That no one will want her if she is not a virgin?
The Bible does not condemn us and turn us away from the Lord because of our sins. If the wages of lying, stealing, and cheating are death (Romans 6:23), then so is sex outside of marriage.

Sexual sin is no more potent a grievance against God than getting drunk or disrespecting your professor. In fact, Jesus’ harshest words were reserved for the prideful, the hypocritical, and the unbelieving believers—not for the sexually immoral (Matthew 23:13-36).
My intention is not to twist the words of God, saying that it’s a good thing to have a rotation of sexual partners, or to play with the fire of sensuality.
However, sexual sin, whether for singles, those married or homosexuals, suddenly seems to be placed on a higher pedestal of condemnation than all else.
All humans are on the same level. “From dust you came, and to dust you will return,” (Genesis 3:19). In other words, we’re all in a sinking boat, and throwing stones at the group you feel is most deserving of hate will only sink you both faster.

By calling women who have been sexually active by these derogatory names, we propagate the idea that a woman’s worth is found in a wedding ring.
This language tells her that in order to be of the most value, she must maintain a certain level of virtue, and that a wrong choice subtracts from her inheritance in Christ. Gentile or Jew, slave or free, we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
God does not dole out the inheritance of heaven based on our actions, and using motivators that allow young women to believe in this false theology will only create a fear-based following of Scripture that is not likely to last.
Is your purpose, in using this language, to keep women focused on their dating life by dangling the possibility of dissatisfaction in front of them?
I didn’t think so.

Don’t we want to dissuade youth from fixating on the opposite sex and instead turn their focus to a relationship with God?
Don’t we ALL need to be a little more heaven-minded and a little less dating-minded? Women are not sluts, whores, damaged goods, low hanging fruit, or easy entertainment.
We are strong, beautiful, gracious princesses of the throne of our Father. So whoever is without sin, throw your stones. The promise of heaven is a promise to us all.

Author: Tori Van Hooser

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