I want to say that those 25 years of waiting were easy and they went by like a breeze and I can look back and laugh but that was not the case. They were very difficult years for me in which temptation was abundant. I am thankful to God that I was blessed with the strength to withstand and wait.
However, not everyone has the self control of those who have abstained until marriage. When I read about Lolo Jones' story of abstinence the other day, I thought at first "Good for her. 25 years was hard enough. 29 would seem like an eternity." But what really impressed me was what else she said about waiting (you can see the link below for the quote): "But please understand this journey has been hard. There’s virgins out there and I want to let them know that it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Harder than training for the Olympics. Harder than graduating from college has been to stay a virgin before marriage. I’ve been tempted, I’ve had plenty of opportunities.” Jones added: “It was cute when I was 22, 24.... [At] 24 to 29 it’s not cute. You get judged a lot, a lot of guys won’t return your calls after they find out.”
One thing that I believe we do very poorly in this country, especially in the church, is talk to our young people about sex. America has an unfortunate attitude about sex that ranges from the prudish to the perverse with interchangeable standards throughout. We do not have a common language to educate our young people about sex. And we are often afraid that if we talk about it with them, it will put sex in the forefront of their minds and they will make mistakes.
But we cannot ignore that for everyone from teenagers on, sex is ingrained in the mind. From the most devout ascetic to the free-spirited libertine, it is natural to feel the way we often do. And yet there is so much guilt associated with it.
Many turn to the Bible for answers and feel that they are clear cut but actually the Bible has wildly divergent views on sexuality. King Solomon had over 1,000 wives, many of whom were not Jewish. Whereas the apostle Paul believed that celibacy was the ideal standard because he thought the world was going to end at the conclusion of this sentence. There is not one clear cut thread on sexuality in Scripture.
The abstinence route was difficult for me as it is for Lolo. And while I would like to think that it is the route that God wants for all of us, I also realize that the temptation to have sex can be overwhelming. It is ingrained in the human conscious and should not be considered a guilty thing. I believe what Lolo's story should inspire us as Christians to do is to educate our young people on sexuality, on the consequences and the precautions. We cannot pretend that people do not lust when in reality we know it happens in abundance. I feel that we as Christians should encourage mature conversation on the subject and stop treating it like it is a taboo. We owe our young people more than that.