I've Stopped Wearing My Purity Ring

I've Stopped Wearing My Purity Ring

Hint: It's not because I've gotten engaged and not because I've broken my commitment.

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When I was 14, my mom and I listened to an audio series on purity and the importance of God's design for sex to occur exclusively within marriage. She and I talked at length about how sex involves literally becoming one flesh with the other person (1 Corinthians 5:15-16), and how it is very emotionally painful to separate yourself from someone after this uniting of souls has occurred. I committed with my whole heart to God that I would live His way and wait until marriage to have sex.

When my mom and I had finished listening to the series, she gave me a pretty gold buckle ring, which had belonged to her for years, for me to wear on my left ring finger until I got an engagement ring someday.

It did look like a wedding ring and was a little bit too big, so a couple years later, I replaced it with a James Avery Heart Knot ring. I wore it for six years, including for the entirety of my relationship with the one serious boyfriend I've had.

When I was in high school, almost every other girl I knew had a ring like mine. Gradually, as we moved through college, some of them were replaced with engagement rings. Others were put aside because their owners no longer felt that the commitments these rings represented were an accurate reflection of where they were in life.

Then there's a third group, and if you haven't guessed yet, I am included. In God's providence and love, it is not because we are engaged or married; and by His grace alone, it is not because we have had sex. I still remain as committed as ever to the promise I made God when I was 14 to glorify Him with my body as much as is within my power. So why don't I like that cute little silver ring that looks like a pretzel anymore?

Most of us have seen this article floating around, "Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos."

I hate that article.

First of all, it's just plain wrong—you'll notice that being a debt-free virgin without tattoos hasn't stopped me from being as single as the Pope. God's will for bringing His children together is so much bigger than these three petty things. One of my friends of whom none of the above is true is in a beautiful and Christ-honoring marriage. It isn't her fault she didn't become a Christian until after she'd had sex or that her family couldn't pay for college.

Secondly, none of those things would be true of me were it not for the particular blessings of being from a financially well-off family, having been raised Christian, never having dated a guy who pressured me for sex, and then the personal preference of just not really wanting a tattoo. The fact that these qualities are either subjective or outside our control is troubling enough, but most troubling is this idea of virginity as a commodity, a bargaining chip, a resume item, a trophy.

Yes, sex before marriage is a sin. But there is no other sin that we wear a ring for not having committed. I don't have a "Haven't Stolen Anything" ring or a "Haven't Murdered Yet" ring. Why should I wear a "Haven't Had Premarital Sex" ring?

I have moreover become convinced that I don't deserve to wear my purity ring anymore, as I have broken my commitment to remain pure until marriage. In fact, I break it almost every time I see an attractive shirtless guy if we are being thoroughly transparent.

In the words of our Savior in Matthew 5:28,

"But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Jesus does care what we do with our bodies; there is no question of that. But He cares about our hearts too, and this is what the purity ring concept loses track of. Obedience includes things like not having sex until marriage, not stealing, and not murdering, to be sure, but it goes so much further than that. Lust, covetousness, and hatred are just as sinful as pre/extramarital sex, theft, and murder.

Thus, we all stand equally condemned, hopelessly wicked, and without excuse before the burning, holy wrath of Justice. Virgins are not better than people who have had sex. In God's perfect love, He has provided His sinless Son to take the punishment for the sins of His people, no matter what their past held, be it lust or premarital sex, covetousness or theft, hatred or murder, all of the above, or anything else. His blood is strong enough to wash all of it away. We were equal in our desperate wickedness before, and we are equal in His righteousness after.

So with all of this in mind, tell me why I should wear a symbol of one sin I haven't committed, even when I have committed so many others, when I was condemned to hell same as everybody else, when I was rescued by the blood of Jesus same as everybody else, when I am forgiven through Him same as everybody else, when I still sin and need my High Priest to plead my cause day and night, same as everybody else? If I haven't committed one sin, what meaning could that possibly have when I've committed thousands of others?

If I am on trial for murder, should the judge care that I've never gotten a speeding ticket? Would it not work against me that I'd even think that would count for something? If I brought up that I have never exceeded the speed limit while on trial for murder, would it do anything in the world besides emphasize that I don't understand the severity of my crime?

Says Isaiah 64:6,

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (KJV)

I'm not trying to downplay the importance of waiting for marriage. The Bible is clear on it, and it brings great glory to God when His people joyfully submit to His commands. But if you have not had sex, and take pride in that and boast in it, then you don't yet understand how grave an offense your other sins are to a holy God; and if you have had sex and can't escape your guilt, then you don't yet understand what a powerful sin-soap the blood of Jesus is. If you are in Christ, your sin is nailed to the cross, dead, gone, cast as far from you as the east is from the west. As long as Jesus stands in heaven, no one can hold your past sins against you, least of all a judgmental and theologically weak woman on Facebook.

Someone asked me when I told them why I don't wear my purity ring anymore if I was worried guys (potential boyfriends, I presume) might think I'm not a virgin. No, I'm not concerned about that at all, and here's why. The kind of man I want won't care what specifically I have and haven't done in the past, no more than I care or have any right to ask which sins Jesus forgave him.

I don't care whether pornography is in his past, as long as it isn't in his present or future. I don't care if sex outside marriage is in his past, as long as it's not in his present or future. In a similar way, he will care much more whether or not Jesus Christ is the King of my life and whether I am actively being sanctified, building the Church, and learning more about Jesus daily. I try to make all those things true of myself, but the truth is, there are a lot of girls who have had sex in the past who are doing a lot better job than I am. Let them think I'm not a virgin, let them know that I am a more vile and wretched sinner than every girl I know who's had sex, as long as they see the power of the work wrought by Christ in me.

The concept behind the purity ring is dreadfully, unforgivably ignorant of the Gospel. I wouldn't question your salvation for wearing a purity ring, but I myself don't feel good about it in light of the above reasons. There are a lot of things we can do that are not necessarily wrong, but may be misleading or give others the wrong idea. These are a matter of individual conviction, and I feel that purity rings are among them. It is good to teach young people not to have sex before marriage, but it is imperative to teach them the rest of the story, lest they wander off into the weeds and think that's all there is to it, as I have been guilty of doing in the past. There are more dangers in purity culture than I have time to list, and loving simplicity as I do, I prefer to avoid all of it, rather than pawing through the bathwater in search of a baby.

"When Christians concentrate on the exterior – on things which can be redeemed, restored, and overcome – they present a version of Christianity that is both HOPELESS and POWERLESS. This article will cause a stir. But it will draw no one to Jesus. If anything, it will depict Him as the unapproachable God so many already assume Him to be. I'm here to tell you: You can be a debt-free virgin without tattoos and far from the heart of Christ. Your appearance and bank account and sexual history do not earn you favor in God's eyes. By grace alone, we are saved, and that is GOOD NEWS for the debt-free virgin and the tattooed college graduate alike. Because with Jesus, there is always hope. There is always redemption. There is purity unearned, unmerited, yet freely given.

This is the scandal of grace: We come empty and inadequate, but He doesn't leave us there.

God is holy, and when you truly follow Him, you'll desire holiness and freedom, too. But you don't have to clean yourself up before you get there. God does that for you."

-Phylicia Masonheimer, "God's Not Looking For Debt Free Virgins"

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I'm A Christian Girl And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals

It is OK for me to not want to be equivalent with a man.

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To start off, I am not writing this to bash feminists or get hate messages. I am simply writing this to state why I do not perceive myself as a feminist.

March is International Women's Month and that is what has got me thinking about how I view myself as a young woman in the 21st century. I enjoy every day getting to soak up the world as a young lady, particularly in the South.

If you know me, then you know that I love and utterly adore Jesus. He is so perfect. He is everything. He is my whole life. Some people might say that I am a "Bible-thumper" or someone who has had too much Kool-aid and maybe I am, but I know who my Creator is and that He died for me, and that is all that matters.

In my young age, I loved to just sit in church with my parents and absorb all that God would deliver. As I have grown up, I have ventured off and joined a church that is different than my parents, so the responsibility falls more on me, but I love that. Since this era of independence began, I have thoroughly enjoyed taking ownership of my faith.

I spend a lot of time chatting with God, worshipping Him in all kinds of ways, and just diving deeper into His Word. Through all of this growth as a Christian, I have learned a lot, but something I have learned is a concept that some may not agree with, which does not surprise me.

I do not believe God meant for women and men to be equal.

There, I acknowledged the elephant in the room.

It is a shocker, I know, but I have some Biblical evidence to back up this belief that I have.

Let us begin in Genesis. God created man and then he created woman. This was two separate occurrences and order is key. He created Adam and then Eve.

Jesus treated women with grace and kindness, do not get me wrong. I mean just look at how He treated the woman at the well, the one who used all of her expensive perfume to cleanse His feet and not to mention His own biological mother! He has a truly unique place in his heart for women, but He also has special intentions for us in the world and in the family setting.

We are to submit to our husbands.

We are to be energetic, strong, and a hard worker.

We are to be busy and helpful to those in need.

We are to be fearless.

All of this is explicitly laid out by God in Proverbs 31.

We are not to be equal to our male counterparts. Jesus does not lay out the Proverbs 31 man, but He rather lays out the Proverbs 31 woman.

A husband or man is to be the head of the household as Christ is to the church.

A man is to love a woman so deeply that represents how he loves himself.

A man is to leave his father and mother.

Women and men are not equal in God's eyes, but they each represent Him in their own ways that the other needs.

If we were all equal, we would not need one another and therefore we would not need God. I am so thankful that we were not created equal. I am so thankful that God is so great that He could not just create only man or woman to represent His image. He is so perfect.

So, you see I am not a feminist, and it is OK.

It is acceptable for me to have this belief that God intended for men to lead women. It is also okay for people to have differing opinions. Writing this was not easy, but I know that not all people agree.

To feminists and those that are not, you are allowed to believe whatever you wish but have evidence to back it up.

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Snapchat Has Become The Newest Dating App Of Our Generation

"Can I get your snap?"

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In this day in age, everyone has the app Snapchat and if you don't, you might be missing out on the biggest dating opportunity of our time. The app Snapchat was originally used to send ten-second photos of yourself to your chosen friends but in recent years it has grown to become a source of communication for dating. People would rather hand out their Snapchat usernames rather than their real phone number.

Snapchat was originally used to do brief communication with your closest friends. You can only send quick pictures of yourself or whatever is around you and only put very few words on a picture. Does that sound like a quality conversation to you? That's because it isn't. Dating has become more and more online in the past few years which has caused this growth in Snapchat being used for this sole purpose. People can easily put this picture perfect life on Snapchat and only capture their best selves. You don't even have bios on Snapchat so the person knows less about you than on any other dating app, only what you choose to share in those ten-second photos.

The use of Snapchat in dating has changed dating altogether. It has caused it to become less conversational and more about a game. Once giving or receiving a person's Snapchat, people always feel like the other person should always respond first because it shows that they care but if they don't it shows that they are not interested. Even when they do send a Snapchat, it's always about the waiting game. If you respond too quickly, then you look desperate but wait too long then it looks like you're not interested. People also give out Snapchats rather than phone numbers because of its lack of ties. If you give someone your Snap it means they might be interested but only give the phone number if you know them really well and want to potentially date them. It is always about the game when it comes to Snapchat dating and if you play the game wrong, then you end up getting ghosted.

With this new online dating world, people are able to ghost a person easier than in real life. Ghosting is when you are talking to someone and out of the blue, they drop all communication with you and never speak to you again. Sorry ladies if you got ghosted recently but it actually happens more often then some would think due to online dating. People are easily able to un-add people on social media and ignore their messages.

While Snapchat is a great app to communicate with friends, the use of it as a source of dating and getting to know someone is questionable. People use it to try and get to know people which it lacks because of its limited ways to communicate. So the next time someone asks you, "Can I get your Snap," just know the purpose behind it is not what you may think.

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