Thursday, July 10, 2003

Sometimes the Purpose of Your Life Is To Serve as A Warning to Others

I know I said I'd be scarce for a day or two, but I couldn't resist sharing this little tidbit with you:

Britney Spears Acknowledges Having Sex

After years of saying she'd wait until she was married to lose her virginity, Britney Spears is acknowledging that she had sex with her ex-boyfriend, Justin Timberlake..."It was two years into my relationship with Justin, and I thought he was the one," she pauses, then adds, "But I was wrong!"

Now you may, as I initially did, react by thinking "So what? So she had sex?" But look at her attitude after the fact: I'd call her statement an expression of regret. She thought Justin was "the one." But she was wrong: she was living in an illusion.

Object Lesson #1: You do not and cannot know that someone is "the one" for you until and unless they make a covenant with you in marriage before God and the community. No other so-called "committment" simply has any reality. To give sexual intimacy to someone to whom you aren't in a covenant is to willingly subject yourself to living in unreality: a pretense of something that isn't really there.

The most painful thing I've ever experienced was that breakup," Spears says. "We were together so long and I had this vision. You think you're going to spend the rest of your life together."

Object Lesson #2: The inevitable result of the collapse of the illusion (Britney's "vision") created by sexual intimacy outside of marriage is pain. One of my philosophy professors was fond of saying (pardon the crass language) "Reality's a bitch: she always collects." If someone lived under the illusion that the Law of Gravity didn't apply to him, we would expect that person to be in for a painful lesson in the Reality of Gravity. The moral law is every bit as real as those of physics, and the consequences of ignoring the moral law are even more devastating than those of ignoring the physical, because the moral law's consequences have eternal implications.

Britney lived in an illusion that her relationship with Justin was permanent when in fact it was not so. She gave a gift to him that he didn't deserve because there was no covenant. When you give someone a gift he/she doesn't deserve, they will frequently misuse it. Furthermore, when her illusion collapsed, Reality came to collect, and now she has pain and regret.

It seems to me that Britney's experience here has the quality of a lesson in morality, albeit a lesson taught according to the via negativa. In my conversations with teens, it is sometimes discouraging to me how many teen girls have swallowed, hook-line-and-sinker, the attitude that "if we're really in love then sex is OK." Perhaps some of you may be able to use this story about Britney to serve as a warning to the girls you have or know.