Updated: Jul 1
Hello everyone! I'm starting a new blog series. The problem with this series is it may not leave you with warm fuzzies. Then again, warm fuzzies and crowd pleasing was never my goal. I have many things to say to the Church both in love and rebuke. I've spent the last week thinking about this series and ramifications of what I will say. These will be hard sayings, but they are necessary to correct trajectory, however painful. I say this now so that you have the option of choosing to not read any further. I realize not everyone will be ready for what I'm going to say and that's okay. I will say it anyway because love rebukes, even at great risk and discomfort.
Regret is a heavy word. If you're human, you've dealt with regret. Some of you reading this may still be dealing with regret. Regret, however, is not healthy. Regret deals in the “would of's”, “could of's”, and “should of's” of life (“should of's” by the way are subtle manipulations – either from others or ourselves). Regret in the Church these days centers around sex. Last week I heard two well-known pastors lamenting over “their past sex lives because of how much they loved their wives” – as if Jesus can't handle their past, their sex life, or their relationships. They seemed to be lamenting a moral/religious standard more than anything. Their identity seemed to be stuck in the past as well. Jesus knows our past, present, and future and he's neither afraid nor ashamed of us. Yet to hear these men speak or comment, you'd think Jesus didn't know anything about them at all. When I heard these things, I was very disturbed– disturbed at the fact that they seemed to place such high regard on regret over sex and so little regard on Jesus' completed work on the cross through his death and resurrection. It was nonsense, and to be honest, a bit of fake piety.
I will speak plainly to the Church. Regret is a lie. Regret ties us to our past and manipulates us with the “would of's”, “could pf's”, and “should of's” of life. Regret can be felt in the moment, but it should not remain part of our identity. Regret based around sex is even worse because it binds you up in moral and religious standards that have nothing to do with what the Cross accomplished – our freedom from religious and moral standards called the Law. This brings me to the subject of soul ties – a well known Christianese catch phrase. Soul ties describe the bond to someone you've had sex with in the past. In some Christian circles, they believe these are apparently more powerful than Jesus himself. They talk of broken people and pieces of people's souls being passed around. I do not deny soul ties exist, I simply deny that they are more powerful than the Blood o f the Lamb. This “soul tie philosophy” is in total disagreement with the finished work of the Cross. We are not the sum of our sexual experiences nor are we defined by them. We are defined and identified by Jesus Christ. We are not broken pieces nor are we missing parts of ourselves for the rest of our lives b/c we had sex with a few people outside of a set standard. Jesus' blood cleanses and makes us whole according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We a not broken, delicate vases who will always have missing pieces. We are whole, beautiful men and women in Christ with more value than we will ever know. Soul ties are cut once and for all by Jesus. You are not a broken person walking around waiting to be whole, you are whole. (Is 10:27, 1 John 2:20).
Church, either the Blood of Jesus is powerful or it isn't! We need to make up our minds! Either the Blood of Jesus is over all things and washes away all things or it doesn't. We don't get to choose a middle ground where we are sort of healed and sort of not based on moralistic and religious standards. Instead of pointing people to the One who loves and wants to heal them, we have pointed them to a moral or religious standard then wonder why they throw up their hands and walk away. We can't mix law and grace, yet we continue to do so on a regular basis – especially in the area of sex. Church, we are going to have to decide what we believe; that people are always "broken" in some way because of sin, or people are whole b/c Jesus made them whole by the finished work of the Cross. We can't have it both ways. It's one or the other. Sex outside of marriage does not permanently break us, I don't care how much sex you've had outside of marriage or what you did. Either Jesus is powerful or he isn't. He either makes us whole or he doesn't. He either loves us where we are, or not at all. He either loves us in spite of ourselves or he doesn't at all. The philosophy of soul ties and sexual purity (mostly aimed at women) has been elevated to its own “godlike” status with its own altar (just like marriage has been elevated to “godlike” status in the Church). I refuse to worship at either of these altars.
I'm going to say a very hard thing now Church. Living in regret because of the perceived lack of sexual purity (or condemning people for the same), and phrases like "extra sexual brokenness" is just code for "you didn't live up to the moral and religious standard we have so you aren't really whole. We don't really believe in the healing power of Jesus, nor do we believe he actually defines who we are; we believe in our own self-righteousness and our own self-effort." What religious and moralistic nonsense! The Gospel is not based on a moral or religious standard, it is based on love, grace, truth, and healing. When are we actually going to believe this?
We had a Protestant Reformation about grace, but did we reform our hearts and change our thinking where regret and sex are concerned? I think we have a long way to go. We are spiritually killing people with our "moral standards" who we deem don't measure up. We are saying eloquent, spiritual words and condemning people without counting the cost. I have been on the receiving end of this condemnation and measuring stick. You have no idea how long the mindset of "I'm permanently broken b/c I had sex before you say I should sex so I don't measure up to your purity standard" messed with my head. This is a lie! I am not permanently broken and my soul is not still cut into pieces b/c of my sexual experiences. I don't live in regret for something Jesus has already taken care of once and for all. I am not the sum of my sexual experiences, nor do they define me! Jesus is either powerful and able to heal or he isn't. How foolish the Church has been in our own religious wisdom and self-righteousness! How foolish we are to think we know better!
I know I'm hurting ears and stepping on toes. This is a hard saying for the writer and the reader. Church, we are talking out of both sides of our mouth when it comes to sexual regret. No wonder people are leaving the Church! We've made God out to be a hard task master who needs sexually pure, perfect children. News flash: He doesn't need perfect children nor the sexually pure to accomplish His purposes in the Earth. He loves us where we are, and redeems us where we are! We are either going to believe this or we aren't going to believe it, there is not middle ground!
I haven't even touched on our racism issue in the Church. This will be coming in Part 2 of this series. This too will be a hard saying and tough medicine to swallow, but the Church requires the medicine in order to break free from systemic racism and live out the full Gospel.
I love the Church and I want us to do better by people and for people. We can only do better if we let go of the gods we have made and embrace the full truth of the Gospel once again. What are we waiting for?
With much love,