As part of their homework, Teen Mania interns are required to write their own “courtship constitution.” This constitution is supposed to define the set of procedures you will use during your courtship. The men and women’s classes are both shown a sample “Courtship Constitution.” Most of the suggested guidelines are normal, common sense stuff like going to church, praying together, not spending too much money, etc. I don’t have a problem with any of that (except as it pertains to making a formula and trusting the formula to give you happiness and success!!).
But, as always, they manage to include something extreme and unscriptural.
“If I ever touch you in an inappropriate way, we must break up for a year.”
Where is the potential for forgiveness and redemption in this statement? This statement suggests that going too far physically, even for a moment, means you must do penance – break up for an entire year – instead of relying on God and the other person to forgive and move on with self-control. This is WORKS BASED righteousness! “If I sin, I must make up for it in this specific, difficult way.” That is RIDICULOUS!!
You’ll also notice that the statement is very ambiguous. What is inappropriate touching? Some Teen Mania leaders would say that it is anything beyond holding hands. (More on this tomorrow.)
This ethic leads to a motivation for “purity” based on fear, not on love and self-control. It also overemphasizes the physical dimension of relationship. Why not have this statement? “If I ever belittle you, we’ll break up for a year.”
And lastly – an entire year? That is a LONG time. Why should a temporary mistake delay God’s plan for your life? Why should you miss out on a year of being with someone you love because you are not perfect?
There is nothing remotely Scriptural about this idea. If you have made a sexual mistake (and many of us have) you are not damaged goods! You do not have to do penance in order to make yourself pure again! All you have to do is ask for forgiveness and believe that Jesus has made you righteous. You are no less pure than a virgin who has never been kissed!
Let me say that again – no matter what sexual mistakes or sexual abuse you have gone through – Jesus has made you clean. You have the same purity of a virgin who has never been kissed. You don’t have to earn it. All you have to do is believe it!