STOP the War on Children

May 8, 2011

Easter Hope for Holiness

By Dr. Karen Gushta

Passion Week, culminating with Resurrection Sunday, has long been one of the high points of the church calendar. The word “Easter” comes from the Old English Eastre, which some claim is derived from the name of a German pagan goddess of spring and fertility, Eostre.

The Christian celebration of Easter, however, is not associated with fertility and fecundity, but rather with the new life and hope that we find in the resurrected Christ who sacrificed Himself to pay for our sins.

Thus, our celebration of Easter is also a celebration of the newness in Christ that we have as His “new creations” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are “His workmanship, created in Christ for good works” (Ephesians 2:10).

This promise of a new beginning in Christ is especially poignant for all who have experienced the degradation and debasement of sexual promiscuity or sex outside of marriage. The message of the powerful risen Savior who has not only defeated death, but who has the power to restore virtue to the fallen is exactly the message of hope and healing that our nation needs to hear—both young and old alike.

Tragically, because of the “hook-up” culture that prevails, especially on college campuses, many youth are putting themselves at risk for sexual diseases. Approximately 25 percent of college youth have STDs. One of the most prevalent, HPV (human papillomavirus), causes cervical cancer. Another of the most common ones, chlamydia, can cause infertility.

Sex outside of marriage is risky business and can have profoundly harmful physical consequences. It can also have profound negative emotional consequences.

According to Drs. Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush, authors of Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting our Children, sex devoid of relationship “can actually inhibit the best kind of growth in intimacy.” This is especially true for youth, whose brains are not fully developed until their mid-twenties. As McIlhaney and Bush write, “When connectedness and bonding form [through sex] and then are quickly broken and replaced with another sexual relationship, it often actually causes damage to the brain’s natural connecting or bonding mechanism.” “Hooking up and breaking up” can have devastating long term consequences on a young person’s ultimate ability to bond in a meaningful way in marriage.

The long term consequences of repeated hooking up and breaking up may not yet be apparent to today’s youth. But, sadly, it is becoming increasingly apparent to many of the boomer generation who took that path themselves. Many of them are now facing the prospect of spending their final years alone and childless because they have been unable to sustain the commitment of monogamy in marriage.

The trend is already being tracked in England. “Baby boomers have become a generation of loners, with millions living without partners or children,” wrote Steve Doughty in the MailOnline, “The numbers of those in their late 40s to early 60s who live by themselves has risen by almost a third in a decade.” In the 2010 figures, no other age group had so many isolated people. Boomer men in particular are facing loneliness in their old age. The number increased by 43 percent among male boomers compared to an increase of 19 percent among baby boomer women.

Commenting on this trend, Robert Whelan, of the British think-tank, Civitas, said, “We are seeing some staggering statistics on people living isolated lives. The sexual revolution was not supposed to be like this. We were all supposed to become free and form lots of freewheeling relationships. But the reality is lots of people living lonely lives.”

Reality always has a way of forcing us to see our own brokenness—unless we are self-deluded or dishonest with ourselves—because all creation reflects God’s truth and His design for human wholeness. Even in relationships.

The solution for the lonely, for those hurt by multiple failed relationships, and for those suffering from the physical consequences of their previous sexual experiences, is—as I mentioned at the beginning—to turn to Christ for forgiveness and healing. He is willing to forgive our transgressions and to make us His “new creations.” And through the Holy Spirit even our consciences can be washed clean from the guilt of our past sins.

Jesus said, “…the one who comes to Me, I will by no means cast out.” (John 6:37).  He is tender and gentle with those who are in pain and suffering. The prophet Isaiah prophesied of the character of the Messiah and Matthew quoted it in his gospel, referring to Jesus: “A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory,” (Matthew 12:20).

Until that day when Jesus returns to send forth “justice to victory” as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, there is still opportunity for repentance and a new beginning in Him.

That is the promise of Easter—the promise of the Resurrection.

Dr. Karen Gushta is research coordinator at Coral Ridge Ministries and author of The War on Children: How Pop Culture and Public Schools Put Our Kids at Risk. Dr. Gushta is a career educator who has taught at all levels, from kindergarten to graduate level teacher education, in both public and Christian schools in America and overseas. Dr. Gushta served as the first international director of Kid’s Evangelism Explosion. She has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education from Indiana University and Masters degrees in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico and in Christianity and Culture from Knox Theological Seminary.

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