Rose Colored Glasses
A biblical opinion from an older new Christian on the subject of sex, lust, relationships, and the lasting impact of all them.
“When you look at somebody through rose colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.”
The previous deep and impactful quote came to me after I started this months ago. It came from a meme. That meme was a screenshot quote from a Netflix original television show called Bojack Horseman. It’s a show I myself do not watch. It is the furthest place from where I ever thought I’d ever find inspiration for what I’ve been wanting to say. Yet, here we are.
What is it I want to talk about?
Yes, sex. Not something, at least in my experience as a Christian, that gets much discussion other than the usual, “Save it for marriage” or “Don’t be frivolous with your virginity, it’s a precious thing.” Both are true. I am not denying the validity of either statement. Quite the opposite. I want to, as Leonardo DiCaprio says in Inception, go deeper. I want to flay open the issue and get to the roots of why, society, even Christian society, doesn’t pay enough attention to this issue and why it should be addressed.
Mark Twain was famously quoted as saying, “Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.” I chose to point this out, because it was a statistic that started the ball rolling on this whole brainchild you are currently reading (and if you still are, I thank you). This statistic came from ChristianPost.com, and let’s just say, the numbers floored me. I remember reading it way past when I needed to be asleep, and my spiritual jaw just hitting the floor.
ONLY 11% OF CHRISTIANS WAIT UNTIL MARRIAGE TO HAVE SEX!
Now there is one thing I want to clear up before I go any further. To quote Doc Holliday in Tombstone, “My hypocrisy only goes so far.” I am not a virgin and I am far from perfect. I am older with wisdom and a fresh perspective, and I am simply trying to share it in the hopes that I can help others. I am not going to go into explicit details, but I will convey my experience. When I lost my virginity, I was not a Christian, and had not stepped foot inside a church in almost 6 years. There was a movie that came out a couple years prior: The 40-Year-Old Virgin. I was 24, and the friends I had at the time all compared me to Steve Carrell’s character. I was introverted, nerdy, shy, and awkward. And what people said hurt. So I set out to not end up a 40-Year-Old virgin. I “succeeded,” but at a cost. It was my first real relationship, and my heart was shattered into a million pieces, and it set me on a path of neuroses and self-destruction. I went from one bad decision to the next; And in the famous words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
Still, 11%, those aren’t stellar numbers. I was flabbergasted. I mean, I know humanity is imperfect, but I was hoping that at least we could have something to say, as Christians, that we had held to. One last bastion. As I have said, I am an infant Christian. I attended one church in middle school, and another in my senior year of high school, but back then it was about making friends, not about Christ. I’m still struggling to grasp the concept of a Christian’s lifestyle. It took me awhile to get comfortable at first. My walls were up. I felt I was one huge hot mess, and everyone else was so… composed. And for the first few months, the walls were as strong as the gates of Fort Knox. It wasn’t until a really close friend said, “Hey, I did this…” that I was able to grasp the concept that Christians are Clark Kent, not Superman, and that church isn’t a hallowed hall of perfection, but rather a hospital for the broken. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know everything. I don’t even know enough to make what I’m saying feel legitimate in my own heart and mind, but God has literally been telling me otherwise for about 2 months now. I need to cease my fear and trust in him. And being as stubborn as I am, I fought tooth and nail every inch of the way. So the following is a unique grasp on the issues of sex, lust, and relationships interwoven with a fresh, outside-the-box grasp on things which are salt and peppered with my own personal heartache and pain. Or, in layman’s terms, advice.
It started with me wanting to take a stab at what I felt (at least as a child) was the most odd ducks of all the books in the Bible. I didn’t see a point to Songs Of Solomon or Song of Songs as a little kid. Ten year old me just thought it was some lewd nook and cranny of the Bible someone forgot to censor, like the author had left a copy of Playboy in with the rest of the scrolls and it got added in. Imagine my shock as an adult to find out there was so much useful stuff in there! I was in the process of casually reading it, when I found myself stumbling upon ChristianPost.com where the statistic about marriage I quoted earlier came from, and it all seemed to click into place. So then I read it in earnest. Then I read it again. And doors opened in my mind. And all my past mistakes seemed to clarify in a way that I felt I could tell others and possibly help them avoid what I have done. The Bible I researched with contained studious notes that I used to write according to what I had to say, what I felt God wanted me to say.
To sum it up, Song of Songs is an epic piece of poetry featuring different perspectives. The man, or the groom, who is King Solomon, son of King David of Israel. The young woman, or the bride, who is the wife of King Solomon.
The first thing that grabbed out to me was Song Of Songs Chapter 1, Verse 6.
“Don’t stare at me because I am dark-
The sun has darkened my skin.
My brothers were angry with me;
They forced me to care for their vineyards,
So I couldn’t care for myself- my own vineyard.”
The young woman was working in the vineyard that King Solomon owned and was your basic blue collar farmhand. She was of a noted darker complexion because of not only her tribe, or race, but also because she toiled in the field all day. She was SO self-conscious because of this. According to the notes, all the women of Jerusalem at the time were very fair, and if I may say so, a little more posh. She fretted and fretted about this whole situation. She’s like every human- nobody wants to feel singled out; ostracized. But do you know what? It was that very difference that led to Solomon falling in love with her. Different strokes for different folks. What am I trying to help myself and others glean from this? BE YOURSELF! We as humans get so caught up trying to be what someone else might want, that we lose sight of who we are. It’s what I call the concept of “The One.” No, not that awesomely terrible Jet Li martial arts film. The idea that there is that one person out there who is our perfect match, our soul mate. Don’t get me wrong, it exists. But it’s a unicorn. It’s not something that just walks along every day. And when “The One” comes along, we don’t find “The One,” it finds us and the magic happens the way God intended. What we need to do until that day happens is remain true to the Lord and ourselves, and don’t ever change yourself to fit Mr. or Mrs. Right Now instead of Mr. or Mrs. Right.
You don’t find love for yourself, you find love for God, and he finds love for you.
Next, what jumped at me was Song Of Songs, Chapter 2, Verse 7
“Promise me, O women of Jerusalem,
by the gazelles and wild deer,
not to awaken love until the time is right.”
Too often we let lust and desire force us into the wrong situation because we have what I call rose colored glasses. Rose colored glasses, like mentioned above, are dangerous. They lead us to believe about even the most toxic of people that the sun shines out of their derriere and they crap sugar and rainbows. Rose colored glasses come directly from the devil himself. These wrong situations can lead to sex before marriage, and the forcing of relationships that aren’t meant to be. These relationships can lead to nasty things. Scientifically and spiritually they are two horses of a different name. Science calls it co-dependence. The Bible calls it making idols. The other person can become so important that you put them above and beyond everything, even God. Have you ever been in a new relationship? That euphoria? The way you both hang on each other’s every word? You have to be in contact every second of every day. I call that puppy love. Puppy love is good for all of 5 seconds. Otherwise you find, when it normals out, it’s not going to work out. Good examples of puppy love ending badly? Sir William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It is not only not a good love story, it’s the worst. Everyone dies at the end! Spare me the star crossed lovers garbage. And then, when puppy love never ends? Ever read a comic? The Joker and Harley Quinn? That. So much that. Probably the most abusive relationship in the history of everything ever. There mania for each other never ended. They were so horrible for each other, and yet… they kept going back. But I digress. The point is, the right person won’t feel like a shirt two sizes two small stretched to fit, but rather that comfortable shirt you wear every time it is clean, that just so happens to be that most favorite item of clothing you own.
And last from Song of Songs, Chapter 5, Verse 16
“His mouth is sweetness itself;
he is desirable in every way.
Such, O women of Jerusalem,
is my lover, my friend.”
So many people rush into relationships for the absolute wrong reason, such as sexual attraction and infatuation. Personally, for every couple I’ve ever talked to or seen interviewed who has been together at least 25 years or more, the common ground I hear from 95% or more of them is “I married my best friend.” The way it’s supposed to work is friendship, then relationship. In today’s hookup culture, everyone wants to skip the friendship and go straight for sex. Most of these relationships ultimately fail. Rose colored glasses strike yet again. That’s why the divorce rate is so high in the history of ever. People are trying to skip the emotional and spiritual and go straight to the physical.
Then I ventured to Romans 1:21-25
“Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen!”
What I gleaned from this is that a relationship that doesn’t focus on God will quickly become an idol. People who become obsessed with The One will often lose sight of God’s will and start to think of what THEY have always wanted instead. Those same people will put on those rose colored glasses and tell themselves that, “This is what God has always wanted.” And I know I am beating a dead horse, but these situations lead to things like harmful things like premarital sex, co-dependent idolatrous relationships, and the perversion of God’s will. These things will pick up your heart and shatter you. The devil will always come to tempt us as that which we desire most.
1st Corinthians 6:18
“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against you own body.”
I know I am starting to sound like our founding fathers, The Puritans. No, I’m not going to burn anyone as a witch. But I will say, sex outside of marriage isn’t some fuddy duddy antiquated sin. God forbids it for a reason. Yeah, I know. Herpes, HIV, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, HPV, Chlymdia, right? WRONG! Everyone knows about STD’s. Sex changes you emotionally. It changes you spiritually. Unless you are a sociopath, when you have sex, there will be at least some form of an emotional bond. And, unless you are spiritually devoted to that person, bad things are very likely to happen. Someone might catch feelings, and the other- maybe not so much. This can lead to unreciprocation, hurt, anger, hate, sadness, depression, et cetera. And trust me when I say the road to recovery from that is long. On the inside, parts of you that are good and wholesome and likeable about your are very likely to change if not completely diminish. Sex before marriage damages the spirit.
And in Judges 16:15-17
“Then Delilah pouted, ‘How can you tell me, ‘I love you.’ when you don’t share your secrets with me? You made fun of me three times now, and you still haven’t told me what makes you so strong.’ She tormented him with her nagging day after day until he was sick. Finally Samson shared his secret with her. ‘My hair has never been cut,’ he confessed, ‘for I was dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as anyone else.’”
See Samson? Samson is a perfect example of what NOT TO DO. He put on those rose colored glasses. Became one with them. He convinced himself that Delilah was the bee’s knees and that he knew her on a deep level. Delilah was out to destroy him and he literally handed her the keys to his destruction. And with rose colored glasses, he couldn’t see the truth. And she betrayed him and destroyed him.
What can we learn from Samson’s behavior?
1) Samson didn’t know what he wanted so he compromised. A little here, a little there, until he couldn’t see where he started.
2) Samson ignored sound opinions and advice because he was infatuated. He even ignored the advice of God himself
How do I feel we can learn to not do what Samson did?
Before we even begin to think of being in a relationship, we need to know what we want and what God wants in our future. And accept nothing less. Make a list of the traits that you desire in our future other half. Not physical stuff like looks, but rather character, spirit, personality, beliefs, goals. Every once in a while, go back and look at it, and if you’ve changed, change it to suit your growth. But under no circumstances change your standards to match someone you met.
Secondly, and most importantly, HEED THE WARNINGS. From God. From good friends. If anyone says something like, “Are you sure,” or, “Do you know what you’re doing?” don’t do something like ignore them out of pride, or fly off the handle at them, or tune them out. Instead, calmly ask them what they might see that you yourself do not. More often than not, these pieces of advice come from a place of love and not harm.
Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”
Do you know when I myself have always made the most mistakes in my life? On my own. I make the worst mistakes when I do not pray and I do not read in my Word. I never understood it until recently. I have a friend, and our relationship has been tumultuous. At our best it sometimes still teeter-totters. It wasn’t until he hit hard times that I got a real look at how I know that I must have been when I was “winging it.” It has been like looking at myself from the outside in. And in a way, with his path, it has really inspired me to course correct and dive into my Word more than ever after being involved on a personal level. And that was when things like what you are reading fell into my lap (If you are still reading, it means more to me than anything.) The problem is, you can have as much “trying to do what’s right” and “good intentions” as you want, but as Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Meaning that, even if your heart is in the right space, if the spirit is not, bad things usually end up happening. Which holds true to relationships. I see so many people younger than me sitting around going, “I really wish God would send me that perfect person.” It’s very naïve. Another thing I hear from more adultier adults than me? That when a relationship was the very furthest thing from their thoughts, is when they usually found true love. Focus on God, focus on yourself and being spiritually and mentally and physically healthy, and it will happen when you least expect it. Do you need to give up? No.
One needs the wisdom that comes with failure.
Remember former UFC Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey? Fierce. Brutal. Never lost. Until she did at UFC 193. And then when she did? She fell to the very bottom. She told the media that in her time that she withdrew and was healing, it wasn’t cupcakes and rainbows. She told everyone she seriously contemplated suicide. What am I trying to get at? Even the mighty fall down. And everyone falls, they just might not let on like others do. I have kept a “sermon journal” since I started going to church in earnest. Hands down my favorite thing I have gleaned and jotted down? People are storefronts, we see what they are selling out front, but we only discover what they are about when we try to see what’s inside. So, the strongest person you know may be the thing you aspire to, but even they could be faltering unless you really dig deep. I have a friend and he’s everything I look up to at times. The day I realized he makes mistakes just like every other person was both the best and worst day for me as a Christian. On one hand, this person who I wanted to aspire to be like, had an asterisk next to his name when his legacy is written. On the other hand, I realized he is just that. Human. Imperfect. A regular guy. My walls about my mistakes fell like the tower of Babel, and the real relationship with God truly began in earnest. Because my best friend had the guts to tell me he messed up and he was not, indeed, in the 11%. That is bravery my friend. So if you mess up, don’t cling to it like it will destroy you. The very simple act of confessing you are not a perfect person could lead to someone’s salvation. And then maybe that person could write this long diatribe and it could lead to at least one person waiting. And they convince others. And then all of a sudden, 11% is now 12%.(Lofty goals, right? Go big or go home.)
I want to clarify that I am in no way saying that because, this mistake helped me, should it be replicated. The mistake I made and he made is a marker to say that losing your virginity is not a good thing. But you never drown by falling in water, you drown by staying there. The point of having a mistake is the ability to turn it into a testimony, so one day you can keep someone from making the same mistake as you. So now, I will end this by asking all of you Christians to do something terribly taboo. GET UNCOMFORTABLE FOR THE SAKE OF OTHER’S SALVATION AND VIRGINITY! If you are no longer a virgin and didn’t wait until marriage, find someone who is a virgin (and a reasonable age of course!) and talk to them. Tell them about mistakes. Help guide them through the minefield of Christian sexual culture. Keep them from doing what you did. Guide them. Those of you who are still virgins? Ask others. Get advice on how to keep on the path you are on, whether it be learning from success or error. Just ask. Stay steadfast. I guarantee conversations might be awkward, but the results will be so worth it. To those of you who made the mistake, all is not lost! Rededicate yourself, and lean on your brethren. We can save the world from hookup culture. The question is, can you get over the awkwardness, and start a new revolution of purity?