Emily Abbey

Junior Emily Abbey is a section editor for Hilltop and involved in a number of extra curriculars at Corban.

I once had a sterling silver ring around the fourth finger of my left hand.
I got it at the age of fourteen. After I finished “Passport to Purity,” a teen boot camp of sorts related to sexual purity, tradition upheld that I got a little trinket to remind me of the experience. I got a dog tag necklace that had a verse from Philippians on one side, and the word “purity” in Korean on the other. It wasn’t that I didn’t love that necklace, but all my friends had rings; I really wanted to fit in.
I liked this ring. It said, “True Love Waits,” on it. I felt naked without it.
Did it remind me of a vow I made to my future husband? Did it significantly symbolize me giving my heart to my father to guard until I someday found my spouse?
For me, the answer to both these questions is no. It was only a piece of jewelry. It did not redeem me, save me or protect me from dark thoughts.
And let me tell you, I can sin just as easily while I’m wearing it as I can when I’m not.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I fail to see how a silver ring on my finger is supposed to help me when I’m wading into a world that graciously gives me 101 tips on “How to be an Animal in Bed.” Just look at the cover of Cosmopolitan. What was I given, what were my peers given, to combat this world of immodesty, hormones and pictures on the internet that we didn’t know how to handle? I was given a vow and an annual talk that vaguely covers sex with euphemisms like “immoral behavior.”
I shouldn’t be trusted to make a vow if I’ll have no support or tools to uphold it. Couples are given pre-marital and even pre-engagement counseling so they have those resources to uphold marriage vows. How can we expect kids to uphold these vows of abstinence if they have no tools?
If you are planning on being a pastor or youth leader, plan on having kids someday or are even just a person with a sex drive, remember that sexual purity is bigger than a ring, a vow or a once-yearly talk about the importance of not making out. It’s a process. Often, we want to do the right thing, but we don’t even know what the right thing is. More than that, we don’t know how to handle things if we fall short.
We can change this. We can create vulnerability and be honest about our struggles. We can be there for others when they need help and, more importantly, ask for help ourselves.
Because, as we know, sin thrives in the darkness but shrivels in the light.