Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Songs in the Night: "True Love Waits". Why?

Songs in the Night: "True Love Waits". Why?:      I keep getting asked when I am going to publish a new blog entry. I keep jotting down ideas and then abandoning them. Sometimes I wake...

#25: "True Love Waits". Why?

     I keep getting asked when I am going to publish a new blog entry. I keep jotting down ideas and then abandoning them. Sometimes I wake up during the night with what I imagine to be a great idea, but that inspiration seems to fade away like a passing dream upon awakening the next morning. Then there is the problem of my reading others' blogs and seeing how creative and visually pleasing they are and feeling that what I have to say is uninteresting and certainly not visually exciting or cute. Or, maybe I just don't have anything to say? No. That's not it.
     Hardly. I always have plenty to say. Just ask my kids, my husband, my relatives, and even my patients. Keeping my silence is often quite difficult for me--especially if I know I am RIGHT, But, being right isn't always the point of writing or speaking. Sometimes, my husband tells me, having to be right on an issue results in being dead right. Winning the argument has the potential to do more harm than good. Today, however, there will be a winner and a loser. It is election day. And thus, today, I want to broach a subject about which there is a definite "right", an issue which involves real losers and winners.
     However, I have no intention of writing about politics as we await the election results. People have voted, many of them early, and those who are voting later today have made up their minds. The evening news will tell us the results of our choices. We will then have to live with the consequences of our choices. Consequences of choices, then, is the topic of today's blog-- specifically, the consequences of our sexual choices.
     I have been thinking about the slogan "True Love Waits" that I see emblazoned on many rings and t-shirts worn by young people who have taken a vow of chastity until marriage:  These teenagers and college students have made a commitment to God, to their families, to their peers, to those they date, and to their future spouses that they will abstain from intercourse and sexual conduct until they enter into marriage. God asks Christians to conduct themselves by His principles, and saving sex for marriage is His ideal for our lives.
    "True Love Waits" is a movement that began twenty years ago as part of a plan to promote Christian sex education. A youth group at Tulip Grove Baptist Church, Hermitage, Tennessee, was first to sign True Love Waits commitment cards" in February 1993. 

"True Love Waits is an international campaign that challenges teenagers and college students to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. To date, over a million young people have signed covenant cards stating
"Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate, and my future children to be sexually abstinent from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship."  http://www.lifeway.com/Article/true-love-waits-leaders-faq

The program is now a huge movement that promotes sexual purity in churches, in schools, and on college campuses around the world.  Here are some of the FAQs excerpted from the True Love Waits website:

'What does sexual purity mean exactly?
Sexual purity includes abstaining from intercourse until marriage, but that is not all it means. Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28). By Jesus' definition, being sexually pure means not even dwelling on thoughts of sex with someone other than a spouse.
Until you are married, sexual purity means saying no to sexual intercourse, oral sex, and even sexual touching. It means saying no to a physical relationship that causes you to be "turned on" sexually. It means not looking at pornography or pictures that feed sexual thoughts.
Sexual purity does not end with marriage. Marriage partners are supposed to experience sexual love with each other in a way that is fulfilling to both. However, purity means being completely faithful to your spouse in thought and deed. "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral" (Heb. 13:4).
Is sex a bad thing?
No. God designed us as sexual beings. He invented sex! He also made a place for it: marriage. In Genesis 2:24 God tells of His plan for marriage, that "a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." The sexual relationship makes the two become one flesh. The Bible speaks of sexual immorality, so there must also be such a thing as sexual morality, right? That morality is based on God's plan for sex.
If we're in love, isn't it OK?                                                                                                                   God created sex for a lifetime commitment between one woman and one man. Sex outside of a committed marriage relationship violates God's standards. When you are wearing a wedding ring, you won't have to hope your partner loves you; you will have heard your spouse pledge to you in front of God, your families, and your friends. Anything less cheapens sex.
What if things just happen?
Sex is not an accident. Sex is progressive, meaning one act leads to another. Things won't "just happen" if you set boundaries and stick to them. If you make the decision now to abstain from sex and to live a pure life, then you will already know the answer before you encounter any compromising situation. Plus, the Holy Spirit gives us self-control to use when we are tempted."  
      I am grateful for the True Love Waits movement and for the education they have provided to young people for over twenty years.  I am thankful for their efforts in promoting abstinence as part of sex education. But, the information from the True Love Waits website is not enough for me. I have more questions. They might not fit into the FAQs, but to me they are important to answer. So here are my questions for those who choose to take the True Love Waits vow, those who wear the ring, or those who might be considering it, or those who are curious about the consequences of young people engaging in sexual behavior.
1. Why is waiting important? It is important because not waiting causes big problems.
     As a Psychiatrist I see the fallout in the lives of those who have chosen to have sex or indulge in sexual behavior before marriage. The outcomes of those choices are usually not happy ones and include the following (though this is certainly not an exhaustive list):
Unwanted pregnancy, abortion, infertility, infection, sexually transmitted diseases, self esteem problems, multiple sexual partners, inability to bond well once one is married, sexual problems in marriage, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, loss of self-respect,  endometriosis or other medical problems, inability to accomplish personal goals, early drop-out from school or college, trouble attaining career goals,  poor choice of spouse, and higher divorce rates.
2. Who am I hurting if I don't wait?  Many people
     You are hurting your family and your relationship with them. Your secrets, lies, and deceptive behavior drives a wedge between you and your parents. You damage their faith and trust in you. Trust once lost is difficult to regain. As adults familiar with what a sexual relationship means, they know that once you become involved with someone sexually you will not have good judgement or objectivity about making important life decisions. 
     You are hurting the child you might conceive. If you get pregnant or cause a pregnancy and elect to have an abortion, you are destroying a life--a life given by God. You become guilty of murder. If that child is born, he is more likely to have problems because of the probability of less prenatal care and poorer nutrition of the mother. The security of his future is threatened. Will he be given up for adoption? Given to a family member to rear? Kept by a single mom struggling to make it on her own? Be thrust into the midst of a hurried up marriage between two people who were not really ready to commit to such? Be abused or neglected because he really wasn't wanted? Be reared in the absence of a father? Absence of fathers in the lives of their children causes even more problems for that child and for other generations.
     You are hurting the person with whom you are involved. You are showing him or her a lack of respect, a disregard for her health, and disdain for her future happiness. You care nothing for her future spouse and children. You care not for the health of her body, spirit, or soul. You increase the likelihood that your partner will have psychiatric problems, infections, and infertility. You interfere with her ability to make wise decisions about her education and her life goals. You serve to potentially derail her life. You wedge yourself between her and her God; you impose yourself between her and her parents. You may say that you love her, but you are lowering her, isolating her, and demeaning her.
     You are hurting yourself. Sex and sexual behavior results in much more that the pleasure of the moment and release of sexual tension. The sex act, including oral sex or masturbation, affects the brain and does so in a negative way in teens and young adults. In a new book, Hooked, Dr.Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush describe how hormones and neurotransmitters in both the male and female are released in response to sexual activity--hormones that are designed to cause bonding and permanent attachment. When sex is misused, damage results. 
"The authors put it this way: “Our decision-making ability, coming from the highest centers of the brain, can guide an individual to the most rewarding sexual behavior—unless bad programming from premature and unwise sexual behavior during the adolescent years has occurred, causing the brain formation for healthy decision making to be damaged.”
As the book explains it, sexual activity triggers chemical reactions in the brain that help shape how we think and feel—in fact, they help shape the very development of our brains, especially in adolescents.
This makes teens susceptible to getting “hooked” on “unwise sexual behavior.” Their brains actually can come to perceive dangerous and unhealthy behavior—like sleeping with one partner after another—as normal. And this can damage the brain’s emotional bonding mechanism, making it difficult for a teenager to form healthy, long-term relationships in the future." http://www.breakpoint.org/commentaries/1868-hooked
Sex becomes more like a drug, an addiction that serves to control and destroy those involved, a destructive drive that pushes other, more essential things out of their lives. Sexually transmitted diseases? Yes. But, brain damage? Absolutely.
You are hurting your future spouse and putting the success of that marriage in jeopardy. Your ability to conceive and bear children may be impaired as a result of abortion, infection, or scarring of Fallopian tubes. You may be a carrier of a sexually transmitted disease and expose your spouse  and your unborn children to that disease. You are risking having trouble bonding with that spouse. You create doubt in the mind of your spouse that you will be able to be faithful to him or her. You introduce the possibility that you might become bored and leave the relationship. You didn't  love the promise of that spouse enough to wait, to save yourself as a gift to him or her.
You are hurting your relationship with God. God asks you to have no other gods before Him. He asks you to save sexual activity for marriage. When you defy Him and willfully disobey Him, you are essentially putting someone else in the place of God. You are saying that your opinions and preferences are more important than what God has to say. You put yourself on the throne of your life. Your life becomes self-centered, rather than God-centered. You are saying that a relationship with a person is more important than your relationship with God. You are making your sexual partner an idol, and you are guilty of idolatry before God.
If you are a Christian, you are hurting your witness and influence with other people. They are less likely to trust or respect you or your opinions and are more likely to mistrust God and dislike church and Christians because of your behavior. You reinforce their opinion that Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites.
3. Why is your slogan "True Love Waits'?
     If it doesn't wait, it is not love. It is the opposite. True lust hates. A person who demands or expects sex or any type of sexual favor from you without a commitment of marriage loathes rather than loves you. He is selfish rather than self-sacrificing. He loves himself more than he loves you or others. He has no regard or respect for you. He has no respect for God. He puts you, his partner, under his influence and control, impairing your judgement, making you so myopic that you cannot see your way clearly. Sex becomes your master. The drug determines your destiny. He is not a person under authority. He is not the one that you want to stake your life on. He is playing God in his own life and in yours,  instead of stepping aside and letting God be God. In simple terms, he is committing the same sin of rebellion that Satan did which resulted in his being thrown out of heaven. He wanted to be equal with God. He wanted to be worshiped. Your sexual partner is coming between you and God; he is trying to take you away from your first love, Who is God. True love waits on God's timing and God's choice. True love waits. Though I am not a Mormon, a Mormon website states "True love is built on the foundation of trust, sacrifice, loyalty, and patience." On this we agree. If your boyfriend or girlfriend does not want to wait, he or she does not love you and, indeed, does not even understand the definition of love.
     So, what to do if you are already involved in sexual behavior outside marriage? Stop now. Get out of the relationship. Delete that person from your contact list. Use caller ID. Don't answer his calls or respond to his text messages. Delete him from your Facebook friends. Don't delude yourself into believing that you can still be friends. The alcoholic doesn't keep beer in the refrigerator if he wants to stay in recovery. See a Christian counselor for help sorting out your emotions, conflicts  and issues. Realize that it will be difficult but doable. See a physician if you are depressed, suicidal, or think you may be pregnant or might have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease. Abstain. Call on God to help you with your struggle. Ask His forgiveness and tell Him you want Him to be first in your life and that you want His will for your present and your future. Like an addict or alcoholic, surround yourself with people who share your convictions and your new or renewed commitment to purity from now until marriage. Realize that your appetite for sex doesn't just go away. You must be involved actively in recovery by filling your life with other things that honor God and build you up and help you heal.
    God is bigger than your bad relationship. God is stronger than your obsession. He is the Great Physician, and His promises are always true. He is love, He is truth, He is light.
Click this link to hear Christy Nockles sing "Healing Is In Your Hand"
26 Bible verses about true love waits: http://www.openbible.info/topics/true_love_waits
Waiting predicts a better marriage: http://www.openbible.info/topics/true_love_waits
Why should I save sex for marriage? : http://christiananswers.net/q-sum/sum-f001.html
35 characteristics of a relationship addict:  http://www.growthtrac.com/artman/publish/printer-665.php