When I was getting ready to graduate from high school, my parents gave me a ring with a pearl to wear on my left hand. They said something along the lines of “promising myself to God” and “being pure and faithful.” There wasn’t anything overtly ceremonial or formal about this moment, but it stayed with me, even after I failed to keep the promise my freshman year in college.
It cloaked me in a shame I didn’t release until I stopped believing that virginity and purity constituted the only formula for salvation.
There wasn’t any lightning-strike moment, like a Saul-to-Paul conversion on the road. There was nothing like what that adulterous woman might have experienced when she was made to stand in front of Jesus in the temple, only to be released and sent on her way.
The woman who was caught in the act of adultery didn’t receive judgment, condemnation or death, even though these would be within the rights of the community. A moment that refuses to define a person’s whole life is sometimes the key that unlocks our redemption.
This message is adapted from “Purity is not love” written by Mihee Kim-Kort, which appeared in the September 2018 issue of Gather magazine. “Purity is not love” was adapted from Kim-Kort’s book Outside the Lines. As the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ends, we observe the conversion of Paul.
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