True Love Waits
Introducing the Abstinence Revolution
Sex is everywhere: the movies, books, TV, music. It seems even insurance companies can't be advertised without some sexual connotation attached somewhere. Most magazines have detailed columns on how to be a better lover or what to expect for better sex. Sex is supposed to be the great litmus test in “becoming a man or a woman”. How did we get here?
Less than a century ago in the West, (even less than that in many areas of Africa ) moral value systems were very different. Virginity was highly prized; teenage pregnancies were the exception rather than the norm; STI's were virtually unknown and HIV and AIDS were non-existent.
Change came about mostly during the late 1950's and through the “Flower Power Era” when music groups especially introduced the rather novel ideas of “free love” and “Make Love, Not War; Make Babies, Not Bombs”. Suddenly the idea of sex belonging within a marriage relationship became old fashioned, conservative and backward. Sex became the past-time of choice, much as an exciting carnival ride. The Sexual Revolution had begun, and it would make its mark on the world as surely as the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia .
Then came the consequences. “Virginity” almost became a swear word. Teenage pregnancies sky-rocketed. Names like “HPV”, “Genital Herpes”, “Gonorrhea” and “Syphilis” became the hushed phrases spoken only in the absolute privacy of the doctor's office and the diagnosis hidden as safely as a Swiss bank vault. HIV and AIDS started their inexorable trek of death through the continents. In 2007, we are paying for the choices made in the Sexual Revolution.
In late 1993, two things happened that would alter the way millions of young people think of sex. First, the Surgeon General of the USA had condoms sent to high schools across America , because “young people can't control themselves”. Richard Ross, a youth pastor in Tennessee , got to hear of this and felt outraged that young people's power of choice was so disregarded. Secondly, two Junior High girls in his youth group came to him complaining that they felt stupid being the only two virgins in their school. Ross told them that he felt sure that there were many more virgins around, but because of peer pressure they felt too afraid to be open about their choice not to engage in sex. Seeing the need for a support structure for young people, Ross, along with a few others founded an abstinence organization called True Love Waits. Within a short week, the idea of standing up proudly for sexual purity before marriage, had fired up Baptist churches throughout the US and within a few short months the message reached a few enthusiastic young people in Zululand , South Africa .
Since that September in 1994, True Love Waits has been spreading throughout Southern Africa and to date, over 400 000 pledges for premarital abstinence have been signed by singles all over the country. It's as if, contrary to popular opinion, young people are saying that they're tired of being told that they're controlled by their hormones. They are tired of a life of shallow sex that only leads to guilt, fear and the feeling of being used. More and more young people are realizing that the pleasure of sex only lasts a few minutes, whereas the consequences may well last for years.
The birth of True Love Waits marked the beginning of what we're now calling “The Abstinence Revolution”. It's the voice of millions of young people throughout the world calling for a better moral lifestyle. For many, it is a way of going back to basic moral values that their societies held dear in times past. Most importantly, the Abstinence Revolution is calling singles back to God's original design for sex. It reminds young people everywhere that sex is not a toy or a game. It's an incredibly powerful act that binds two people together and it belongs in a relationship that has been sealed by an “I do!” Only in marriage is sex without guilt and fear, but is rather fulfilling, beautiful and the reward of total commitment to each other. Sex itself is not bad. Sex is good. In fact, it is so good - it's worth waiting for!
If you are a virgin, then know that you're not alone. Your virginity is precious and indescribably valuable. Don't be another example of the celebrity who, when asked to describe how/when she lost her virginity said she'd lost it at 16 - but desperately wishes she'd waited.
If you're not a virgin and you know that you've been living a life of shallow sex and cheap thrills you don't have to live that way any more. You can change. You don't need to wait for New Year's to make a resolution that lasts only as long as your self-control does. By signing a TLW pledge, you're making a statement that signifies that what's past is past, but by the grace of a forgiving and cleansing God, you're changing your lifestyle today.
True Love Waits-South Africa is a fast growing organization. In fact, TLW-SA is the second largest TLW organization in the world! TLW-ers visit schools, universities, youth groups and churches across the country, encouraging other young people to choose the abstinence before marriage lifestyle and the young people are responding positively.
Jerusha Olsen, True Love Waits South Africa.
To request True Love Waits to speak at your school or youth group contact: Precious Youth:
or visit www.preciousyouth.org.za.