My friends and I went to the movies a few nights ago. I barely made it into one preview before I was gagging and I wanted to leave. Scene upon scene of alluring, practically pornographic images filled the screen. A dramatic story was introduced about how two young people fall madly “in love”, with a typical Romeo and Juliet Esq twist where the girl rebels against her controlling parents who want to keep them apart. The parents are rich, snobby and cruel for not wanting her out in the world, experiencing “life” (which is apparently summed up as sex). The movie is entitled “Endless Love”. And it’s tag line? “Say goodbye to innocence”. It’s very clear what this movie (and Hollywood) is saying:
The only thing that matters in life is passionate sex. The highest satisfaction comes from being as crazy and free as you want to be. Your innocence is something you should want to lose. Anyone who keeps you from that is outdated, controlling and bad.
My heart breaks for every 13 year old girl who goes to see this movie on Valentines day. I imagine how her friends will push her to watch it with them. She might not want to at first because she’s grown up in the Church and knows some of that stuff is wrong, but at the same time she’s never seen real love walked out in her parents marriage or home, or in her church or youth group. Her heart’s been aching for real love, so she’ll go. And she’ll be lied to. She’ll see every image and hear every word and doors will begin to open in her mind and heart. She knows her friends have already lost their virginity and she’ll hear them agree that sex is amazing and she’ll kind of want it too. So she’ll begin the party scene, spend hours working on her hair/skin/clothing to increase her sex appeal and begin making herself ‘available‘. You know the rest of her story. The whole time she thinks she’s empowered, that she’s in control, but really she’s thirsting after an “endless love” that she’ll never find. Even after heartbreak she won’t give up, because after all–”this is what real love is, isn’t it?”
This is a letter to my generation. To those older who are currently partying their lives away, to my peers who have been sucked into this culture’s quicksand and are suffocating without even knowing it, and to those who are younger, innocent and growing up being bombarded by a pornified sexuality.
You’re being lied to.
While sex is a beautiful thing inside the safety of marriage and completely Biblical, it is not the ‘be-all end-all’ of life. If the only thing that matters is how much carnal pleasure you can have in the 70+ years you’re on this earth, you will end up unsatisfied and alone. That’s because the empty vacuum in your soul, that selfish need, fueled by craving and desire, will cause you to act in the exact opposite of love. Love does not seek its own (1 Cor 13:5). If you think love is found at a wild party, in stranger’s beds or in one fairy tale moment, you’re being lied to.
That is not love.
You really were created for endless love, but here’s where they’re lying to you again. Endless love in this day and age is when a man desires your body, when he says he loves you after three days, when you feel little bubbly emotions and desires, and when you both make wild promises you can’t keep (e.g. “I’ll love you forever” or “I’ll never leave you”). Only one Man can keep those promises and on the cross He assured them forever. Only the eternal God can love you forever, only the perfect, life-sacrificing, omnipresent God can be with you always. You are searching for love, and I’ve found it. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down ones life for his friends (Jn. 15:13). Love suffers long and is kind. Love bears all things (1 Cor 13:4,7). This is what love did for you. He suffered long, He looked upon you with loving-kindness and mercy, and He bore the punishment for every sin, punishment that you deserved, not He. Therefore He is our great example of what love looks like.
Innocence is beautiful.
It is not a bad thing to be innocent. Our culture looks down upon you if you haven’t done as much or gone as far. Apparently if you don’t live like Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga you’re not cool. But you’re being lied to. Purity is beautiful and the pure in heart will see God (Matt. 5:8). Today Jesus is restoring the definition of beauty, and along with it, the purity and innocence of love. If you belong to my generation, you could honestly say your innocence has been stolen. Innocence belongs not just to the body, but to the mind and emotions. Our minds have been a nuclear war zone and the devil has declared an all out war. Our hearts have been invaded, ravaged and pillaged, leaving nothing left but broken shells of outward perfection. Our bodies have been violated, abused and mistreated by ourselves…and others. But I say this to everyone whose innocence has been stolen:
Innocence can be restored.
There is a song sung by Sara Groves, with words that beautifully portrays God’s heart. He says, “You may lose your innocence, but you cannot lose my love.” God has declared that He will make all things new (Rev. 21:5) and that includes your innocence. It includes mine. He is the God who restores, the God who takes ashes and turns it into something beautiful, and His promise to you is that you will be pure and spotless, without wrinkle or any such blemish, and holy before Him in love (Eph. 5:26; 1:4). If your innocence has been stolen, or you’ve given it away, there awaits redemption and restoration for you if you choose to come to Jesus. Let Him wash you. Let Him say over you, “you are clean”. Let Him redefine love, redefine beauty, redefine innocence.
He is in pursuit. The one who was and is, and always will be, is after your heart. As He went to the cross to lay down His life for His friends, He had one specific joy set before Him. He prayed for one thing. You. He desired you (Jn. 17:24; Heb. 12:2). In Him you will find endless love. In Him you will find ultimate, perfect and everlasting satisfaction. You were made for this love. He didn’t make you for you, He didn’t make you for anyone else, He made you for Himself–that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward you in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:7).