If you’ve ever lost your way on the purity front, you’ll no doubt be familiar with that feeling of sitting in the chastity talk at school just wishing the ground would swallow you up. I’ve been there, I know how you feel.
For a start, hearing how important it is to protect your virginity can bring back the shame of knowing you can’t get yours back. You start to get angry at yourself for making wrong decisions, followed by angry at the speaker for rubbing it in. It’s too hard to hear their optimism about the real beauty of chastity knowing that you haven’t been living that way.
It feels like chastity can’t possibly apply to you—you already messed that one up, it’s too late for you, right? Wrong! Chastity is NOT the same thing as virginity! Virginity is a simple, yes/no matter of biology. Chastity is a LIFESTYLE—one which looks to the future rather than the past, and can be chosen at any point, regardless of what’s happened before
“When you decide firmly to lead a clean life, chastity will not be a burden on you: it will be a crown of triumph.” St Josemaria Escriva
So, here are 5 reasons that choosing chastity DOESN’T depend on whether you’re a virgin…
1. The Lost Sheep. Even when you’ve stopped making your boyfriend or girlfriend pursue you emotionally by making the relationship too physical, Jesus is still pursuing you – whether you know it or not. He will NEVER give up on you.
2. The Prodigal Son. It’s so easy to be intimidated by people who have been ‘successful’ in retaining their virginity, or to feel inferior to them. But your Father doesn’t love you any less than them. He is just waiting to welcome you back to Him with open arms!
3. The Cross. Jesus sacrificed his life to take away your sins. Not just for humanity, but for YOU personally. 2000 years before you even existed He made your pain His pain, and He wants to do the same today. Our God isn’t a tyrant, He’s a God of mercy, forgiveness and abundant grace.
4. The Fall of Adam and Eve. When Adam and Eve chose the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge over their relationship with God, they allowed sin to enter into human nature. For that reason, we’ve all sinned. I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t break God’s heart a little every time one of His children slips up, but He knows it happens, which leads us into…
5. The Sacrament of Reconciliation. The beautiful thing about Confession is that, by the grace of God, your sins are completely absolved. When you’re truly repentant about your sin, God makes it like it never happened. He can take away your past mistakes, your guilt and your shame—meaning it’s NEVER too late to repent and start afresh. The choice to leave behind your unchaste past and live chastely in the future can be made at any time.
When you eventually meet your future spouse, sure you’ll have to have the conversation where you explain your history, but that can either be along the lines of “After I gave in once I didn’t see any way back, so I kept giving in”, or it can go a little more like this: “I made a mistake in not waiting for you, I know that now, but I’m not that person anymore. From X point on I decided that you were worth more than my old way of life.”
As Jason Evert said: “Don’t be afraid that a good guy wouldn’t love you because of your past. If he defines you by your past, he isn’t that good a guy.”
Have you made a decision you regret? Take it to the cross, leave it there, and start again today. Reconciliation really can lift that weight you’ve been carrying around.
Esther Rich is in her final year studying Psychology at Oxford University, UK. She loves Theology of the Body, Papa Francesco and a good worship band. She is passionate about empowering women to be who they were created to be, and blogs at “For Such A Time As This.”