The Gift of Purity – You're Worth It!
Categories: Joseph, Morality, Peer Pressure
"What? You believe in abstinence?" said one high school student to another with a condescending air. Her face was a picture of disbelief. The attitude that sex is a natural part of relationships is prevalent in high school and college these days. And in high school there's the added pressure of feeling the need to belong. Maintaining your virginity seems to be just one more thing that makes you different from the rest.
And yet, this difference is significant and wonderful. Having a sense of sexual morality, safeguarding your integrity, and valuing purity are actually more rewarding than sexual looseness or immorality. And you're not as different or as alone as you may think. More and more young people are waiting until they get married before entering into a sexual relationship.
What are the rewards of morality? Well, let's look at a good example:
He was a handsome man. And she was making advances on him, consistently. No one had to know. He could have easily reasoned that she could help his career. She was the wife of a powerful man, an officer of the king, his boss's wife. She was rich and desirable. But each time Potiphar's wife asked Joseph to sleep with her, he refused -- adamantly:
"Look, with me here, my master doesn't give a second thought to anything that goes on here -- he's put me in charge of everything he owns. He treats me as an equal. The only thing he hasn't turned over to me is you. You're his wife, after all! How could I violate his trust and sin against God?" (The Message Gen. 39:8)
Finally, she caught him alone one day when the house was empty -- a great opportunity. Joseph did not yield to the temptation. Instead, he spun out of his coat as she was grabbing it, and he fled.
So what did Joseph get for being moral? Well, the immediate consequence was not too favorable. Potiphar's wife felt so jilted that she landed him in prison by lying to her husband, claiming that Joseph made advances on her. Joseph was in prison for several years. It looked like he was being punished for refusing to sleep with Potiphar's wife, for taking a stand for purity and principle.
But throughout everything that happened to him, Joseph maintained his integrity and trusted in God's ability to protect him and to guide his life. And this made all the difference. The prison keeper saw that Joseph was a good and virtuous man and put him in charge of the prisoners. Eventually, Joseph was called upon by Pharoah to interpret his dreams. As a result, Joseph was essentially made the ruler of Egypt, second only to Pharoah. This enabled him to save not only the Egyptians during a time of great famine, but also his own family and people. In the end, the rewards for being moral outweighed whatever Potiphar's wife could have offered him and benefited him far more than anyone could have ever imagined.
What gave Joseph the ability to take a stand for principle and not waver, regardless of the possible benefits and in spite of the potential downside? He loved God too much to sin against Him. He respected himself too much to compromise his integrity. As discussed in earlier articles about relationships, our relationship with God determines all other relationships. If we compromise our relationship with God, and in Joseph's word, "sin against God," then we compromise our relationships with others. And, we lose our own sense of self-worth. Losing respect for ourselves affects everything we do.
It's possible that no one else would ever find out that you slept with someone else. But you know. And you have to live with your actions, your thoughts, your conscience. So maintaining your purity is critical to maintaining your dignity, identity, and sense of peace. It also speaks volumes about your integrity -- your sense of your self as worthy of the highest respect and regard. If you are willing to compromise your integrity, why shouldn't others treat you the same way? When we cherish ourselves -- love ourselves as God loves us, see ourselves as God sees us -- and radiate that sense of respect to others, then respect and love come back to us.
The benefits (both short and long term) of sexual morality -- virginity, abstinence, purity, chastity -- truly outweigh any sense of pleasure that the moment brings.
- You get to know the person, his or her likes, dislikes, desires, goals, interests, dreams.
- You get to build a friendship with that person. And friendship is the basis of good relationships.
- You or your partner won't get pregnant. You won't have to become a single parent. You can have a relationship free from this worry.
- You won't get any STDs; you don't have to worry about them or the consequences.
- You know that the person likes you for who you are and not for your body or for how you can gratify his or her sexual desires.
- You can make the distinction between love and lust. Sex clouds your judgment.
- You won't have any regrets about wishing you wouldn't have slept with a person, realizing he or she was just taking advantage of you, or feeling ashamed.
- You can make decisions clearly. If this is not a person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life or even the next month, you don't have the sex issue involved. It's easier to break up. And if you are with the right person, you'll have plenty of time the rest of your life to develop a tender and passionate sexual life.
- When you do make love with your husband or wife, it will be beautiful and natural.
- You have a sense of peace.
- You're honoring God.
- You maintain your sense of self-worth and dignity.
- You won't have to deal with shame, guilt, or sensuality.
- You're maintaining your integrity, which is one of the most important aspects of your character.
- You are setting a standard for others to follow.
- Your commitment to morality may help someone else.
- You may find rewards as great as Joseph's.
If your romantic partner loves you, he or she will respect your desire to maintain your purity. If s/he turns it on you and claims that if you really love him/her you'd have sex, then you know that the issue is sex, not love, and that s/he values sex more than your feelings or your sense of self-worth. And you may want to remember:
- A girl can get pregnant even when she has her period;
- The failure rates of the most common contraceptives (considering typical use) range from 2% - 21%. A percentage rate cannot protect you from pregnancy.
Love and sex are not the same thing. The desire to make love to someone you love is natural. And it is beautiful when protected in the context of a committed and loving marriage where it's okay if you get pregnant because you have the framework to give children the necessary support they deserve. Children deserve much more then they often receive. You deserve the best. You deserve the gift of purity. As Jesus tells us, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8).
And if you've already had sex, it's not too late to reclaim your purity. There was a woman whom the scribes and Pharisees wanted to stone because they caught her committing adultery. But Jesus had compassion on her. And after the men left without killing her, he asked her:
Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:10-11)
The woman was healed. She gained a new sense of purity and identity, and her nature was transformed.
The more pertinent question to ask should be: "Why in the world would I want to compromise my integrity, lose my virginity, and open myself to a load of problems that I may not even be able to handle just for that passionate feeling which doesn't actually last that long anyway?"
It may be hard to resist the passion, the infatuation, the feelings, and to wait for marriage. But, you're worth it!