I am rejoicing with the families of the three women who were rescued from sexual slavery this week. What an amazing story. What incredible relief for them and for their families. I can't imagine how they survived and I pray for their recovery. Let the healing begin. I suspect it will be a long road.
On the heels of this story came word from Elizabeth Smart that challenged my thinking. Elizabeth spoke out against teaching abstinence. Elizabeth was raised in a religious household and recalled a teacher who once spoke about abstinence and compared sex to chewing gum.
Of her horrific experience she said, "I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.'
And that's how easy it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value," she continued.
Commenting on why she didn't try harder to escape, and why the three women in captivity didn't try harder to excape she said, "Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value."
Oh, sweet Elizabeth, nothing could be farther from the truth. I know we actually agree on that, because she went on to say, "Children should be educated that you will always have value and nothing can change that."
I really respect Elizabeth Smart. I think I understand what she is trying to say. I would like to add that teaching abstinence is not the problem. Abstinence is still the best choice. There are, however, flawed teaching methods that send incorrect messages. The "already chewed gum" for example.
Those who have been raped may have lost their innocence, but they have not lost their purity. Purity cannot be stolen. It can only be lost through choice.
Those who have been raped may feel worthless, but in truth, they have incredible worth because their worth is eternal. A person's worth does not change because of what they experience, or even what they choose.
We cannot increase or decrease our worth by anything we do, or anything we experience. Our value is immeasurable because of who we are. Our value was created before we were born. We are sons and daughters of God. That value can not be taken from us.