Anyone who grew up in an even remotely Christian culture has probably had this conversation at one point or another. How much it actually affected each of our lives is debatable, but it has certainly been a popular topic in Christian circles for decades.
When it comes to sex, where is the line?
How far can you go before it’s too far?
My hope in writing this is not to sound like a 1990’s purity-bot, spouting off the same unhelpful jargon which ultimately leads people into shame, fear and the like, but maybe to help you think through some things as we all labor together to seek out a more holy and pure sexuality.
There was once a queen who was looking for a new bodyguard to tote her around on her royal litter. This was an incredibly important position in the kingdom, as he had to be incredibly strong to tote her around on the shoulder litter everywhere she went, but he also had to be trustworthy.
The royal court had narrowed the selection down to the top 3 contenders. The first man was called into the chambers and immediately bragged to the queen, “Your Highness, I am strong and capable and if we found ourselves in the mountains on the edge of a cliff, I could safely carry you within 5 feet of the edge of a cliff!”
He continued his speech and then the queen called in the next man. He began, “My Liege, I heard what my fellow candidate here said and I want you to know that I could carry you within three feet of the edge of a cliff and you would be completely safe!”
The queen considered this and finally called in the third man. He humbly entered the corridor and said, “My Queen, if the situation arose, I wouldn’t carry you anywhere near the edge of a cliff. I would keep you as far away from it as possible in order to keep you safe.”
And for some reason, the queen picked the third man.
Because there is safety in fleeing from the edge. There is no wisdom in tiptoeing the edge of catastrophe and hoping we don’t just trip over the edge.
And when it comes to sexual purity, I think we too often embody the first two candidates; we ask how close can we get to the boundary before we are in risky territory. But if we truly want to pursue purity, our hearts should be in a place of asking instead, How far can I stay from the edge?