Dear Transformed Wife,
Is it okay if I call you Lori?
Let me start off by clarifying I have never read your blog until your runaway post on Monday. You seem to have hit that sought-after, unknowable recipe to writing something viral. Last I checked, your post “Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos” was shared over 44,000 times.
Your post has one of those titles that begs to be clicked on. You have an image to go with it, and fancy lettering for your title. Unfortunately, your post also has some alarming ideas that clash with Biblical truth, and could be very discouraging to some who read your words.
Your basic premise, that women are more attractive when they are debt-free virgins without tattoos, poisons the central truth of Christianity: Jesus takes our dirty rags and gives us His glorious, perfect holiness.
You see, when God sent the Israelite spies into Jericho, He didn’t send an honorable woman to help them on their mission. It was Rahab, a prostitute, who kept them safe. The Bible is very clear that prostitution is wrong, so it would seem that Rahab was not suitable company for the Israelites.
But God used her to keep His people safe. And He called her to be one of His people. An Israelite man married her, and together they were forerunners of the only perfect Person who will ever be born.
All of us are stained – tattooed, if you will – with the sin we were born with and we continue to commit everyday. There is no washing off this dirt or removing these inkstains from our hearts. At least not when we try to do it.
But Jesus came, “and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near” (Ephesians 2:17). Because really, when we’re being honest, none of us were near.
All of our hopeless reality is voided through the sinless life, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. This astounding gift of grace means we are clean. We are free. We are radiant. We are pure. No matter our past. No matter our baggage, our debt, our history, or our marks.
This idea that we have to clean ourselves up to make ourselves more “attractive” or worthy is completely contrary to the Gospel. Completely. Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day trying to make themselves more holy by cleaning the outside of the cup. “‘You blind Pharisee!’” Jesus said. “‘First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean’” (Matthew 23:26).
And another thing…
But deeper than that, your post’s premise seems to be: Here’s what you need to do in order to find a good husband.
But God doesn’t call us to find a good husband.
In fact, the apostle Paul strongly recommended we consider lifelong singleness. Talking about single women, he wrote, “Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 7:40).
A better idea of our life purpose would be something like this, in Samuel’s speech to the Israelites: “Only fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you” (1 Samuel 12:24).
For those of us who do marry, which will likely end up being most of us, that primary life goal never changes. We are still called to glorify God. Called to worship Him. Called to follow Him wherever He may take us. And called to remember the amazing things He has done for us.
But there’s something else that’s bugging me. A majority of us – singles in our 20s and 30s – will probably be married someday. But what about those of us who never walk the aisle? Never say “I do”?
You say not to worry about what-ifs, but grant me this one: What if we are debt-free, tattoo-less virgins – and still single?
What would you say to a 50- or 60-year-old who has followed all of your rules and still never planned her own wedding?
Would you add more rules? Because that’s how we think. We assume that, surely, if we do X and Y we’ll be guaranteed to get Z. if we put in the right factors we’ll get the outcome we want.
But Jesus never promised this.
He did promise that “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).
“In the world you will have tribulation,” He said, adding the promise: “But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
If I do this, God owes me that.
All God “owes” each of us is eternity in miserable separation from Him. Everything else is grace. Everything.
Marriage or a life of singleness. Living at home or on our own or with roommates. Whether God leads us to go to college or not. Debt or prosperity. Tattoos or otherwise. All are grace.
Please know that following a list of rules never guarantees that your heart has been changed (Matthew 7:23). Nor does it ever mean we will earn some kind of life stage or experience – or anything, really. Everything we ever get is grace, freeing us from sin and shame and endless legalistic rules.
I hope you know this freedom. I pray you know this grace.
So what are we to do? How are we to make huge life decisions when we aren’t sure of our future relationship status?
And here, Lori, is where I agree with you. So I will end with your words, hoping and praying that you follow your own advice and find freeing grace in Christ:
“Trust God with your life, study the Word, and take the narrow path that leads to life.”