The Musings 32
Read: Philippians 4: 1-8
It is normal for people to imitate others or to observe certain days that are earmarked special days of celebration. Today this day is known as Valentine's Day. A day when people talk about love, or fantasize about true love, or about true relationship and so on. In an age and time when moral values are on the decline it is important to critically evaluate whether such celebrations like Valentine day reinforces strong moral and godly values. It was this thought that made two individuals Richard Ross and Jimmy Hester to co-found a movement "True Love Waits" way back in February 1993. This movement was started so as to help the teenagers to make commitment to sexual abstinence till they are married and living a life of purity, by committing their loyalty to God and their families. This is what the pledge that the teenagers had to take "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 marital relationship." This pledge of purity is made on five different areas of life and relationship. The first commitment is made to God, then to oneself, then to the ones family, then to ones friends' and then finally to ones future spouse and children.
Twenty years down the lane, since the creation of organization, True Love Waits, the message of this movement has spread to more than 100 countries, helping teens in the process to battle sexual peer pressure. Today the organization believes that an estimated 3 million youth have signed commitment cards pledging sexual purity until their wedding day, and that number continues to grow worldwide. A few weeks back at the Christos Marthoma Church in Philadelphia, the young ladies of youth fellowship also organized a Purity Conference which was meant only for the teenage girls of the parish and the noteworthy part of that event was that everyone who attended this conference, also made a pledge to live a life of purity. Here are some examples of people and organizations trying to create an awareness that our lives need to be build on biblical principles and that life needs to be kept pure especially in the areas of one sexuality. To highlight and teach that that sexual intimacy is a relationship to be fulfilled only through bonds of marriage and not an action that you do in your teens when having a casual or a friendly relationship with the opposite sex. But one of the strange aspects of this movement and the teaching that is associated with the movement and the so called concept of purity seems to be associated only with the girl child or woman. Is purity something that is associated only with woman?. I think it is here in such a context that we need to start analyzing the existing concept of purity and how purity is only related to women folk. I think purity need to be understood in a very comprehensive term whereby holiness in life is what is need to be emphasized. Holiness in every one and not just an overemphasis on asking woman or teenage girls to keep their life pure.
In his letter to Philippians, Paul exhorts the Christian about how one can order their lives and make their life holy and pleasing to God. In Philippians 4: 8 he says that "Finally brothers whatever is true, what is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. The exhortation that Paul does here needs to be seen in the context of developing and maintaining healthy relationship. The development of healthy relationship can be done only when my perception in life is very noble. It is these perceptions that Paul talks about. He talks about truthfulness or integrity, nobility, purity, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy. Holding on to what is true means consciously distinguishing and rejecting the falsehood that is propagated sometimes in the name of culture or peer acceptance. Being true is a quality whereby I make a conscious decision to say no to those things which I cannot accept or compromise because of my faith. It is when I am true to my commitment and calling that I devote my life to for those things in life that are noble, right and just. In a world where human life is driven by passion and patterns of the world, Paul exhorts that we need to see whether the driving force in our life is based on purpose and causes that are noble, just and right and that which bring glory and honour to God. In world of today we are tempted from all the corners, and in all walks of life and therefore it is imperative that we as Christians needs to set a standard not of the world, but a pattern that is honorable to God and a witness to the world. For this we may need to say no and also critique the so called patterns of the world that promote ungodly living or stressing on thought patterns like it is ok to have sexual relationship before marriage and so on. . Organization like True Love Waits, are some of the notable organizations that tries to implement and transmit Godly values to the teens in an ungodly world. Let us also in this time of lent take a decision that we will also order our lives in such a way that we live life holy, pure, and pleasing to God. Holiness and purity not seen as something exclusive meant only for women but an inclusive style of living that incorporates both male and female members. Let lent be a time of holy living.
Rev. Dr. Joe Joseph Kuruvilla