More than a week ago, I shared my counsel with a lady who was in love with a man, who had told her that he couldn’t move forward with the relationship if kissing was off the table. My counsel to her, based on my understanding, was that I personally believed kissing is okay before marriage, but that she also needs to pray to God about it, and if and when she would engage in it.
When I initially shared my counsel with her over email, I was glad that it was private, because I knew that a lot of people would challenge that belief – but I was sure that they were wrong, and were simply being religious. I felt prompted by God to share it publicly on my Reader Questions series, and of course the outcome was a lot of opposition. I argued my point using – and abusing – scripture. I took Paul’s reference to giving holy kisses out of context, because it was the only reference to legitimate kissing in the Bible.
One of the things that challenged me most was the discussion I had with my friend, Goke, on the matter. His perspective is that you can’t give a romantic kiss to someone you are not married to without lusting in your heart. It seems like a no-brainer, but I was of the mind that lust is something only God, who knows the hearts of all men, can judge. But the bottom line was not about whether intimate kissing between unmarried people was spoken against in the Bible, but whether it was something God would lead you to do. Is it wise and is it loving?
I wrote a piece a while back that God has used in helping me to get to this point of admitting my error. The piece is WISDOM BY ANOTHER NAME, and there I talked about illicit love, that is contrary to the wisdom of God. Also, the piece I wrote yesterday, which also challenges the whole “do not, touch not” legalism that is existent in Christianity, also challenged my basis for defending kissing between the unmarried. I have always understood sin to be anything that doesn’t please and glorify God, and here I was trying to define sin by commandments. So, I wasn’t being sincere.
I said I wasn’t justifying myself because I am already married. But that was a lie. I was justifying the counsel I had given to the lady, and so I needed to show that kissing in itself was not the issue, but the motives behind it. But when you get down to it, the motive behind intimate kissing before marriage can’t be to strengthen the other towards abstinence, but to give place to the flesh. So, while accusing those saying kissing is a sin of being legalistic, I was actually being legalistic, so as to win an argument.
So I confess that I was wrong on this issue, and that my advice was wrong, and my defense was insincere. I’m sorry to all my readers for this. I am thankful to everyone who challenged me, and all who choose not to engage me in unnecessary debate on this issue.
Part of the challenge for me getting to this point is because I feel strongly that the Puritanical doctrine is burdensome. I still disagree that hugging, holding hands or pecking, and other sincere expressions of affection that one would do with his or her siblings is immoral to do with someone who is close to you romantically. This is because I still believe that pre-marital romance isn’t bad, and is holy between believers. But I crossed the line by saying that mouth to mouth kissing is permissible.
So, to the lady who I gave bad advice to, I would like to correct my counsel to you. I’m sorry that I was not able to share with you true godly counsel, because of my own reservations on the matter.
You said that you “would never choose him over God by compromising”, so don’t compromise. Stand by the standard that you know to be true, which is to abstain from sex before marriage, and don’t do anything that would introduce lust into your relationship. If he still insists on kissing, then you have to accept that he isn’t the one God meant for you. I know it is hard because you have such strong feelings for him, but trust God that He will bring someone better, who is worthy of you, and ready and able to lead you in this matter, and in marriage.
To everyone else who still believes that some kissing is permissible in romantic relationships between the unmarried, I would say let Wisdom be your Guide. What is wise is loving, and what is loving is wise. Also, don’t act selfishly. Even if you think you can handle it, maybe they can’t – even if they say they can. Why put a stumbling block in their way? And of course, Paul’s advice to flee from sexual immorality (1 Cor 6:18-20) is indeed the wisest counsel on this issue. We all should take heed, both the married and the singles.
Again, my apologies to everyone who I may have misled in defending my stance on this issue. God knows I am not above sin, and I pray that I will be forgiven by you all. For what it’s worth, God knew why He wanted me to bring this to the light. It was for my sake and for others who have held a similar stance in error. If we can’t change our minds when presented with the truth, then we are not listening, nor are we sincere. God bless you all.
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