Tina Turner, Baby, all I have to say is, you got it ALL wrong! It’s not difficult to look at lives surrounded by easy come/easy go sex, drugs, alcohol, money, abuses of all kinds… just general hard-“living for the moment”… and understand why some people ask, “What’s love got to do with it?…” I always hated that song by the way. I don’t know what year it came out, but I remember I was still a kid, and even then I knew that it was MESSED UP….it was sad. It was bitter. It was lost. But in my youthful innocence I didn’t realize that for some people”love” could be wrapped up with so much pain. For me, in my happy little world of hugs and pretty ponies LOVE was not a “second-hand emotion.” LOVE was my mom laying down with me at night until I fell asleep ( until I was about 8!!!! ) My parents saying, “Goodnight, sweet dreams, and I LOVE you” every single night of my life before I fell asleep. LOVE was hug/hug/ hug/ kiss/ kiss/ kiss… a full round of three times for a total of 18 hugs and kisses! My every night routine! My LOVE was seeing my Grandmomma and my Daddy John never being too old to kiss on the lips… and the fortunate, natural consequence of so much love between my Grandparents was that all of us lucky enough to have them in our lives got the extras. There were always plenty of hugs and kisses to go around for us all!… and all of the sleepovers I had with my Grandparents when I was a child…I would lay in my mother’s old bedroom, across the hall from my Grandparent’s open bedroom door, and I could hear them read the Bible and pray together before they went to sleep each night.
“Who needs a heart? When a heart can be broken…” Yep. That’s what Tina wails. I didn’t understand that part as a kid. I didn’t have a broken heart. All I knew was the kind of love that filled my heart and made it smile… and made it sing… not wail and complain. But I get what she was saying now. Fortunately, I still don’t think that her song has anything to do with love… And, I would rather take my chances on keeping my heart and getting it broken again and again then to stop feeling, to stop caring, to be bitter, cross, cynical… or even worse, deadened. I am going to say a few things that some of you might think is Biblically wrong. I’m not afraid of your interpretation. All I ask is that you open your mind and heart. I don’t think that this is just MY interpretation for MY benefit either. This is a hard and pain-filled place that requires some real searching for right answers.
Let me go back to the same time period when Tina Turner was asking us those questions about love. I was hearing songs on the radio… going to the movies… watching TV… talking to friends…all the things that kids do now except there were only a few TV channels, movies were rated more harshly for violence, sex, drugs and adult situations… AND THERE WAS NO INTERNET. If somebody found a naked picture in a magazine… or read a racy scene from a book, or snuck into an r-rated…. or x-rated movie… it took some planning and plotting. Now it is a click of a mouse away.
I don’t know if any of you who are adults will admit it… but I am a HUGE Harry Potter ( the book series) fan. Most people at least KNOW about the main characters… and that the stories are about good versus evil. Voldamort is THE evil est….E V I L. He is so evil, so self-centered, so short-sighted that he spends his life doing terrible things to others for his own gain… because he gets pleasure from his power and other’s powerlessness. He purposefully hurts, tortures, even kills others. Little pieces of his soul are ripped from him because of his evil. He finds a way to keep the “horcruxes” (the ripped parts) alive but separate. They are stored away from his body. He erroneously believes that by his own doing that he can be immortal – can live forever. He is terribly mistaken and his arrogance at his ability to be all-powerful is his downfall. Separating parts of his essence from the whole of himself leaves him in such a miserable state that he is almost unrecognizable. Yes, Voldamort created “horcruxes”… the broken parts of his soul because he thought he could stay alive forever that way. Ironically, he not only dies… he is beyond redemption. He is a lost soul. He was never all-powerful, and he was destined to meet an end like us all. He would have to account for his time and explain how his talents were used or wasted just like the rest of us.
Horcruxes make me think of sin… especially sexual sin. I believe that every time a person has sex that is not ordained by God that they break off a little piece of their soul… they leave it somewhere with someone who isn’t going to watch over it, or take care of it. It’s bound to result in a broken heart… hopefully the pieces are all still there, and some day will be repaired…but what if there is only a hole where the heart once was? A heart that should be whole and alive… beating…full of love… has turned hard and cold… Or what about the mind that should be pure and innocent… a clean slate waiting to write words and pictures that are loving and beautiful… what if that mind is haunted by ghosts of the past…or impure images that are present in our mind and we are unable to clear away. What if there are ghosts of others (either known or just seen in movies or tv or magazines or online) that come into the mind and haunts the place and a space that should be sacred and holy?
I have four teenagers, two boys and two girls, 16, 15, 14, and 13…so I think about and worry about these kinds of things! I don’t want them harmed playing sports…or driving…or experimenting with alcohol…or putting experiences into their minds that they will be unable to eradicate. I have told them something that I heard as a kid…and I think that they should consider at all times: “If you are watching a show or surfing the internet, or having a conversation with a friend, or out with buddies or on a date…would you be comfortable if God was sitting there right beside you? Looking at what you are looking at…listening to what you are saying…doing what you are doing? If the answer is ‘No.’ Then stop. What we do now matters. Not just to our own health and reputation but for our future relationships and for our future lives here and beyond. It all matters.” That is heavy to think about. But so is a lost life.
I heard a speaker at a rally when I was a kid. It was the first time that I heard, and understood that God’s rules aren’t to keep us from fun, they are to protect us from harm. “Imagine a swimming pool… racers ready… but there are no lane ropes and everyone is jumping in from everywhere… or diving into the shallow end… pure chaos. People banging together. Colliding. Getting hurt. Order gives us direction and security. God’s boundaries are there to keep us safe…” That sounds simple enough, but why don’t people get it until they are panicking and drowning?
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13
“But Christy, what do you know about relationships? About lasting relationships? About God’s plan for marriage? Why should I listen to you?”
Marriage should not be entered into or exited out of lightly. Marriage means something, or it should. Marriage should be a gate wide enough for two to fit through… side by side. It should be a narrow gate where the people who enter through are “evenly yoked”. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness…what agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6: 14-16. Some people marry and are successful in leading their new spouse to the meaning of true love through their dedication and love. But the “lost” has to be willing to be “found”.
God made marriage. He fashioned a man and a woman to be together. Real marital LOVE, real marital sex and a true union of a man and woman includes God. He was there from the beginning… he made us to love and to love one another. Unfortunately, like most things that we humans touch, we have tainted what should be pure and beautiful with our worldly views, fleshly desires and selfishness. We live in a sexually saturated culture where sex is stripped of its depth and meaning and power… sex without God’s blessing is a mirage for real intimacy that leaves pieces of souls lost in the wake … all of the glamorize, easy sex that is sold to our culture doesn’t have a disclaimer like a cigarette ad… but should: “Buying and using our sexy product can cause your heart to break and your soul to die. Also, there is a good chance that if you browse our product line you will eventually purchase a product… and with each purchase comes a chance for a sexually transmitted disease, an unwanted pregnancy (leading to potentially an unwanted marriage or an emotionally devastating abortion… and depending on your “politics” the view that you are a murderer… and your religion that you are an adulterer)….oh, and by the way, all of the porn that you think is steaming up your sex life is actually making you more unsatisfied with yourself and your partner… etc. etc. etc.”
People in our culture asks….”How far can I go?” Third base, home? Over to somebody else’s home? People dress for a reaction. Do I look “Hot?” Is it tight enough? Low enough? See through enough… why leave anything for the imagination? What is there left to imagine anyway? Just walk through the mall and look at the displays in Victoria’s Secret. Yea… that man with the young wife and baby is checking that other girl out. I saw it… and the person who has wandering eyes at 25 will likely be wandering with more of himself (or herself) at 45. Living together and “Playing house” before getting married isn’t preparing for marriage, it’s practicing for divorce. It is a dress rehearsal for something that if it is RIGHT doesn’t need any rehearsing.
God created sex. God commanded it. God set the context for it and He celebrates it… when HE is a part of it. That’s what I know about marriage. And when God is part of it, there is nothing in the world like it.
It took me 20 years to get to this… but this is the truth between me, my soul and God.
When the Pharisees were trying Jesus he said to them “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Matthew 19: 4-6
Marriage is the ultimate commitment. The ultimate oath. Serious business. TRUE marriage… the kind that is sacred… that is a holy thing set apart for God’s intended purposes is not a union of two, but of three.
“Therefore, what God has joined together…. what God has joined together…” Is the marriage sacred… or spiritual… or selfless?
Paul talks about Sexual Immorality “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You re not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20.
Marriage AND SEX as it was intended by God is Sacred. It is Spiritual. It is Selfless. …So what if sex is none of those things? What if sex is just an itch that needs scratched? Then, my friend, you are in danger of leaving a little pieces of your soul… laying all around… without hope that someone who cares about you more than they do themselves is watching out for you.
“Saving” yourself means a whole lot more than the trite little saying indicates (trite means occurring so often as to have lost interest, freshness, or force ). Saving yourself from heartache, from injury, from misery. Saving yourself from being lost….And SAVING yourself FOR selflessness, service with love and gladness, the freedom of thinking about another first. What do I know? What do I, Christy, know about this topic? I KNOW the difference.
The “wide road” is where everyone else is being pushed along, trampled, stamped, prodded like a mindless herd to be slaughtered… to a big place of sadness and darkness and finally death. A place full of lost souls. The Good News is it doesn’t matter what we have done…IF we have heartfelt sorrow for offending God… His temple…and for our offenses to others…IF we turn away from those things that are separating us from feeling unworthy of God’s love then we will turn toward the direction that God wants us to go… and the amazing thing is that God will not be standing a great distance away with His hands on his hips and a look of disapproval. He won’t be expecting you to crawl over broken glass to atone for your wrongs and to travel a great distance to reach Him. When you turn, He will be standing right THERE! Less than a step away. Arms open wide, a big smile of relief and joy! He will take you in, right where you are, forgive and forget, and hold you up if you acknowledge that you need Him whenever you start to stumble.Whenever… and every time.
Are you lost in the current of our culture? Don’t panic. Stop. Be still. Turn around. Look for God’s face and let Him lead you out. Lost people say, “How far can I go in my sin?” God’s people say, “How far can I stay away!” Guard your heart, your eyes, your mind… and your soul.
Acknowledge.Repent. “When true repentance is offered, God promises to forgive and restore…The Old Testament word for peace is shalom. Shalom means much more than peace of mind, a ceasefire between enemies, or inner calmness. It means universal flourishing and wholeness. It means things are complete and settled. Shalom is the way things ought to be- the way God intended things to be…Sin twists and corrupts things; it brings brokenness to our lives and world. Shalom straightens things out and cleanses things. Shalom brings healing and restoration. It reweaves the fraying fabric of our lives and this world.” Tullian Tchividjian
Even in the uncertainty of where I will be, I am not afraid. I have my health, my life, my beautiful children, my adoring husband, and peace. I have God. I pray you will turn toward God. Shalom.