Is it stupid to be pure? part one

Posted on July 19, 2017 · Posted in Parenting, Teenagers

Is it stupid to be pure? People have been asking this question for thousands of years. The pursuit of purity appears to be out of touch with a life of enjoyment. Purity means dull, boring and unexciting, at least that is what modern culture teaches. Seriously, when was the last time you saw a commercial shouting out the value of being pure and decent?

A song writer felt this tension 3,000 years ago. In frustration he complained that fat cats got whatever they wanted. God and biblical morality were mocked in his world, very much like they are today. People lived for pleasure and appeared to suffer no harm from their lustful pursuits. The song writer observed that people were not only enjoying sin, but getting rich in the process. Again, very much like today!

Hear his words of envy in Psalm 73:

“Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?
Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?
I get nothing but trouble all day long;
every morning brings me pain.”

The song writer who wrote these words did so under the direction of the Holy Spirit. These words along with the other thoughts in the beginning of Psalm 73 would be a great blues vent. The songwriter gets it. Many kids in Christian homes are totally into the idea that all they get from Christianity is pain and trouble.

There is a larger story to tell of course. But as parents it huge that you at least grasp the issues your kids face. Trying to sell purity for purity’s sake is a non-starter. Psalm 73 speaks pointedly of the frustration that your children face when purity and moral behavior are demanded primarily on the basis of keeping rules. The Holy Spirit’s alternative is the pursuit of purity based on a relationship with Christ that is rooted in gratitude and grace.

Our song writer resolves his frustration when he sees God for who he really is. In the second half of the psalm he is able to take a step back and see all that is real, not just the temporary rush of “let the good times roll.” I’ll explore that bigger picture in part two of this article.

But for now please consider how much of your direction to your children to be pure is based on keeping rules. The “don’t do this, or you’ll get in trouble” reasoning is an open invitation for your children to believe that being pure is stupid.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.