How far is too far?
Young people today are asking, “How far is too far?” in trying to find the “boundary” in their relationships. Is touching or petting safe? Can you have deep kissing? If there is a boundary, can you please let us know how far is too far?
Now, to address the how far is too far issue in regard to physical expression outside marriage, everybody wants to know where the line is between “OK-with-God” and “not-OK-with-God” on the physical intimacy scale. Depending on how a person subscribe and view the Bible as having full authority over our life, our boundary may be either very clear and straight or fussy or unclear. It’s natural for young people to want to extend and stretch the boundary as far as possible. They are seeking how close they can go to “NOT OK” and still “BE OK.”
For any young person with a sober mind, wanting to have a better future, the question should not be “how far is too far?” but rather, “what builds up, honors, and promotes good growth for me and others?” When the Corinthians were confused about “how far is too far” in relation to food that were sacrificed at the pagan altars, apostle Paul responded by urging them not to be so concerned with what is permissible, rather, he said, concern yourself with what is beneficial. As followers of the Lord we ought to be dwelling on what is beneficial rather than probing what is permissible.
IT STARTS IN A SMALL HARMLESS WAY:
I came across an example that sets the answer very clearly. The best way to handle this issue is to take appropriate precaution from the very beginning. If not it will be like a boat that is leaking and eventually face the consequences. See for yourself what it has to say:
Most people who lose their battle with temptation do so because they don’t start the fight soon enough. They let the Tempter have too many early victories. They give the Evil One easy, uncontested wins by hardly thinking twice about viewing/hearing/reading things that weaken them, and dabbling with ‘legitimate pleasures’ that edge them closer and closer to the crumbling cliff face.
Suppose you are in a leaking boat. You are lounging on deck as the water seeps in a few bucketful an hour. No problem. Any fool can bail that out. Hour after hour you continue to snooze until suddenly you find yourself plunging towards the ocean floor. You then bail furiously but it’s too late.
The disaster was not the product of some momentary weakness or inexplicable lapse in the last five seconds. It was all so avoidable, if only the danger had been taken seriously.
That’s what it’s like with temptation. Act soon enough and you’re safe. Take no action as temptation begins to seep in, and the danger slowly mounts until finally not even the strongest saint could survive the onslaught.
It’s not what happens in a moment of weakness that is critical. What matters is what you do right now to protect yourself from those moments.
Trespassing the boundary of going to far into sexual immorality does not start with the very act itself. It begins by a simple touch of kissing, petting and heavy embracing. Since human body is full of senses and ready to respond, it goes to the destination that is too far. If you start with a kiss, next time you meet it is easy to do it the second time. By the third time you will not be satisfied with the kissing alone. The boundary will automatically extend by itself.
Our lives as believers are to be free of suggestive behavior and dress. “Touch me if you want” type of dress, facial expression and body movements are indications of the intent of the heart. If our intention is not flirting we should not send out wrong signals. I’ve seen young people with “seen through” dress roaming around in the night. What is their desire? Inviting others who may like to pollute them? Will you be happy to see your girl or boy friend in similar situation? If you are not seeking for free sex, what are you looking for? Is free sex really free? King Solomon asked this hot question, “Can a man take a fire to his bosom, and his clothes not burned? Can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes into his neighbor’s wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent.” (Prov. 6:27-29).
IT’S NOT EASY – IT IS A BATTLE:
If you value sexual purity, you’ve got to avoid situations that could compromise your values. A young man from Los Angeles says, “I was in a situation a few months ago I shouldn’t have been in. I was alone in the house with this girl I was dating. We were close to having sex when I looked at my ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ bracelet. I knew Jesus wouldn’t be doing this! “I told her I wouldn’t go any further. Then I got in my truck and drove away. After that experience, I decided to stop dating that girl. And I’ve let her know I’m sorry for what I did. I’m glad to say I’m still a virgin, although I’m not proud to admit that I went as far as I did.” So, he says that he will no longer puts himself in situations where he’ll be tempted to compromise his values—or his sexual purity.
“A friend and I hold each other accountable for how we act on dates,” says another young man. “We give each other permission to ask questions like, ‘Where did you go? What did you do?’ Knowing I might be asked these questions helps keep me from doing something I’ll be ashamed of. Having an accountable friend is a way to fight this battle.
Young people who have committed their lives to God are developing accountable friendship with whom they can pray and share their struggle to support one another. They can also openly discuss about the boundary on what they can and they won’t do. The main purpose is to check each other to maintain their purity in the polluted world. ” “My girlfriend and I have also set limits,” says a young man. “We will only hold hands and hug briefly. Kissing, for us, is out. We just don’t want to be tempted to go too far.”
“I gotta admit,” he continues. “I sometimes feel like staying sexually pure is not worth it. Then I realize I really do want to enter marriage as sexually pure as possible. I’m saving a very special gift for the one person I want to spend the rest of my life with. I want to save myself for the one I know I’ll always love the most.”
Christian students who value sexual purity realize that the happiness of their future marriage is more important than satisfying any current sexual desires. And they understand the potential consequences of sexual impurity.
SOME PRACTICAL STEPS:
According to By Faith Media Team, there are 12 reasons why one should not cross the boundary of sexual purity. They are as follows:
1. Understand that before marriage your friendship is not for sexual pleasure. God wants you to learn to love each other and be best friends. Many marriages break up because they are based on LUST not friendship. Build your relationship on being best friends.
2. Make up your mind to enjoy what God has given you now. Friendships are precious, but can be ruined by the power of lust. Lust will want you to have deeper and deeper sexual experiences and will never satisfy you. Choose right now to not be controlled by lust, but to enjoy your relationship.
3. If you have decided not to be controlled by lust, you’ll know to keep your hands to yourself. Touching people sexually inevitably leads to something deeper. In your heart you do know what is right, follow the Holy Spirit’s conviction, it is always for the best.
4. Many Christians in Korea decide not even to kiss before marriage – then there will never be any sexual mistakes. If that is too much for you, then only kiss standing up. If you kiss sitting down you may find yourself falling over the other person. Learn how to stop at the right time; don’t allow lust to take control.
5. If you separate yourselves from other friends, you may find yourself in a compromising situation. Decide not to be totally alone from other people. Remember, many have made mistakes that they have regretted for the rest of their lives.
6. It is best to avoid bedrooms. If there is nowhere else to go, it is a good idea to keep the door open. Privacy is important, but being left alone has often led to mistakes. It is hard now, but in the long term you will be really happy you made good decisions whilst young. Many wished they could have your chance once again.
7. The media spins out all kinds of lies regarding sex. If you believe all it says, then look up because pigs will be flying! It rarely shows you the pains and problems of sexual immorality, but you can find out first hand by following its advice. God wants to spare you that pain.
8. Who is giving you ideas? Films, music and magazines that promote ‘free sex’ (they only wish it was free) can lead you in the wrong direction. Why is billions spent each year on advertising? Because it effects what you do, where you go and what you buy. So select carefully what media you will consume, it can effect what you do. Keep your mind and heart pure.
9. It is worth repeating. Make your mind up not to be controlled by lust, but to enjoy a pure relationship now, and choose God’s best for the future.
10. “But we’re going to get married”. Until you have said those vows, history proves anything can happen. True love waits, if you love him/her, then you can wait a few years.
11. Never forget God is not trying to ruin your fun, but protect you from pain. It is for your own good to obey God. You will be so thankful for the rest of your life that you made these decisions when you were young.
12. Satan will spin two ideas. One, sex is for everyone, with anyone, anytime. Two, he will say sex is bad. Both are lies. Sex is good, Sex is God’s plan. On your wedding day God will give you a special gift to share with your spouse for the rest of your lives, and you will be on the right path, to enjoy sex as God wanted you to.
One night of stolen pleasure today is not worth a lifetime of regret. A right choice now is worth a lifetime of thanksgiving to God for saving you from making a big mistake.
Patrick L. Hurd addressing about a “safe-kiss” (A Kiss is just a Kiss) argued, “For Christian ethics to maintain some difference from the rest of the world, there are some assumptions that the Christian is expected to know, understand, and apply. In fact, if these few basic elements of the Christian faith were taught to children at a young age and applied throughout their childhood as they mature, I dare say most of our young people would not think twice about the proper response to sexual issues. Unfortunately, too many of our young people don’t think twice about it and, thus, the pregnancy and divorce rate within the Church rivals that without the Church.”
1. The Christian is not his own person – he does not belong to himself – he belongs to God. He has been bought with a price and belongs to God alone. That means the other person, one is with (if a Christian) doesn’t belong to themselves either. Therefore, neither person has the right to give their body, passions, mind, etc… to someone else or to require that someone else give theirs to them. (1 Cor 6:19,20; 7:23)
2. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. To glorify God means to make visible His invisible attributes (character) and eternal power by the way we, His people, act, think, work, play, marry, kiss, etc…. The Bible instructs us to “put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11) and “flee youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22) freeing us to accomplish our chief mission: To glorify God.
3. The Bible admonishes His people to “flee from sensual immorality” (1 Cor 6:18 and 1 Thess 4:3 to name a few), to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (1 Peter 3:15), to “love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22), to “establish your hearts blameless in holiness” (1 Thess 3:13), to “keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it [spring] the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23), etc… We are to carefully guard our heart from defilement and against competing loyalties AND to do so for our children.
4. Jesus set the record straight about Biblical ethics with the Sermon on the Mount: “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) It is an invalid attempt to separate the physical from the spiritual and pretend that one does not touch the other.
Don’t spend a lot of time alone. Spend time together with other people, or the two of you in public places.
Don’t spend time alone late at night. You’re most likely weakest late at night, when you’re tired. This is a bad time to have a “make-out” session. It could lead to more, and you’ll be too tired to resist.
Don’t lay down together or on top of each other. Sit up!
Both of you should have someone to whom you are accountable who will regularly ask you if you are keeping your relationship pure.
Praying together is great, but it is a form of intimacy. Be careful that praying doesn’t lead to something else.
Dr. J.M. Ngul Khan Pau