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How Far Is Too Far?


“If God was looking down on you, would it look any different to Him?”

I was in college and struggling with setting physical boundaries with my current boyfriend. I knew that God intended sex for within the confines of marriage and believed there were consequences if I disobeyed, but I wasn’t sure where the line was. How far is too far? I knew I felt shame and guilt for some of the behavior I had engaged in, but was it really wrong or was I over re-acting?

I shared these thoughts with my friend and mentor, Jenn.

“If God was looking down on you, would it look any different to Him?”

That was her response. No plea for me to keep my clothes on, no list of facts about STDs or emotional consequences. Just a question.

Now, it’s not great theology. I don’t like the picture—nor do I believe it’s Biblically accurate—that we have a God way up in heaven sitting on a giant throne looking down on us, judging our every move. However, she had a good point.

Whether I was in a bed with my boyfriend, engaging in full on sex, or on the couch, making out, fully clothed, but consumed by a high amount of passion and lust— if God was looking down, would either of those positions look any different to Him?

That question changed it all for me. I stopped trying to define sexual purity on my terms, based on how I felt, and instead tried to consider what my God thought. How does my Creator, my Savior, define sexual purity? What would He think of my heart’s motives and overall behavior?

Instead of trying to push students to agree upon a “too far” line based on what they see is reasonable, what if we responded with questions.

What does the Bible say? [Don’t know? Let’s look together…]

What do you think about that?

Why do you think sex was created only to be enjoyed within the confines of marriage? Do you agree with that?

What do you think sexual purity entails?

If God were looking down on you, would the physical intimacy you are engaging in look any different to Him than sex? What would He think of your heart’s motives?

Let’s ask questions that will lead our students to define their moral compass, behavior, and choices based on what their Creator says and not by what they feel or what seems reasonable in this culture.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. [Philippians 4:8]

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God. [1 Thessalonians 4:3-5]


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  • D. Merricks

    Really thankful for this post. I am giving a sex talk next week at our ministry and last night I asked them to write down questions that they want answered. Of course, this was one of them. Thanks for helping me think in the right direction.

    • That’s awesome. I had a great conversation with a friend yesterday morning over coffee about entering this discussion with students without shaming them AND remembering that there are PLENTY in your audience who have already gone way too far (or totally sexually active). And thinking through how to encourage/challenge them with TRUTH without alienating them if they have made mistakes in the past. Hope your talk is great! 🙂

  • MJ

    “I stopped trying to define sexual purity on my terms, based on how I felt, and instead tried to consider what my God thought.” – GREAT paradigm shift, Hanna! Thanks for sharing!

  • That’s a powerful question! Definitely one that can be used on any campus.

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