1994: It is seven years later now. I am 43. I am married. It keeps getting better being a woman living in obedience to the gospel of Yahshua, the Messiah, Son of the eternal God who created the universe. I’m not kidding.
Twenty-five years ago, in 1969, I was eighteen years old and satisfied to be a virgin, knowing in my heart what I wanted the relationship with “my one and only” to be like. I wanted it to be there, but I was willing to wait for the real thing. A year later I was no longer satisfied, but instead ashamed to be a virgin. I began to wonder what was wrong with me. I did something about it: I turned a corner in my conscience and didn’t even know I was doing it. I thought I was being set free, liberated to be me. I became a child of the Sixties in 1970.
After that, it was my life and I made all the choices I wanted to make. “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” was the theme of the day. The term “free love” was a hallmark of the Sixties, without anyone really questioning whether or not sexual encounters without commitment were love at all. Free means it doesn’t cost you anything. No one stopped to ask: “Does true love cost you everything or does it cost you nothing?” “Free love” ought to have been seen as a contradiction in terms, an impossibility, but it wasn’t. Many baby boomers learned the hard way that selfish love wasn’t love at all, and so did their children who were left to grow up in the wake of it.
I want to tell you today that “free love” is not the answer. It was not the answer in the Sixties, the Seventies, the Eighties, or the Nineties. It will never be the answer because it is not the truth.
Perhaps the greatest irony of “the Movement” is that, a generation of young people who sought to pursue and find love and peace with all their heart, left the legacy that “morality doesn’t matter — do want you want— anything goes.” Probably more than any other social effect of the Sixties, the lie that personal restraint in our private lives is irrelevant to social justice, has not only left an indelible impression upon society, but it has become the norm. The quest for peace and justice has long ago given way to cynicism, but sex-any-way-you-like-it has become commonplace and defended as a right in ways and with consequences never imagined — even by the flower children. What a tragedy. What a disappointment. What a lie.
Having been a part of that problem, for which I am ashamed and sorry, I am happy to tell you that the remedy to that lie is the truth of the marriage covenant founded on the rock of our Master Yahshua’s love.1 Learning to love like He loved is the answer and as you know, His love cost something. It cost not only something, but everything; it cost Him His life, and yet he did it willingly.
That is the essence of marriage: giving up your life for each other and for your children. Without that, there is no marriage. That’s why so many weddings today end in divorce. The problem with uncommitted sex is that it results in unwanted children and it’s very difficult for an unloved child to grow up into a loving parent. Without that commitment — that love based upon the surrender of self, there should be no sex. It’s not because God doesn’t like sex; it is because He loves man and woman so much, that he reserved such sublime intimacy for a relationship where two people are committed to totally trusting one another. Otherwise sex can’t help but be eventually hurtful, even devastating. Child abuse should not be a surprise to anyone, albeit a disgrace. It is the inevitable result of selfishness.
Instead of total trust, today men and women are at each others’ throats. For all her pain and suffering, woman has declared war on man. She wants him to change, to treat her better; she’s mad. No matter how mad she gets, it won’t solve the problem. Remember? “Love is the answer. All you need is love.” Some dreams like that one envisioned in the Sixties were true, we just didn’t know how to get there. But where is love? How do we find it? How do we give it?
A common slogan in the Sixties was “Make love, not war.” It might better have read “Have love, not hate.” So now, a generation later, what are the young women who made love in the Sixties doing? Many are full of anger and hatred toward men; many fail to accept accountability for their selfish lovemaking or they resent it if they do. Quite a few are “Making war, not love.” It is easier to point the finger at men and make everything their fault. Women of the Sixties didn’t like the “double standard” of men wanting to sleep around, but still marry a virgin. So now everybody sleeps around and true love is not a prerequisite. Who should the women blame that on? “Free love” didn’t help anybody. Neither women, nor men and certainly not the children are better off today.
Marriage was meant to be a covenanted relationship. I am so grateful that, despite my past, I could enter such a covenant with my husband and have a true marriage, founded on the rock of total surrender. Just as our Master gave up his life for our sake, I have chosen to surrender my life to my husband because of his great love for me. I trust him. He is worth it. I am not disappointed. He shows his love for me all the time by the way he treats me, by how he considers me. He is good to me. He and I, we’re not perfect. We fail to love each other at times, but we regret when we do that. There’s a way out, there’s forgiveness, because we know our heart towards each other. Our intentions are pure. He trusts my love for him. I believe that is the most precious gift a woman could have. He responds to it. He likes it. I know he needs me and it makes me happy. I am content.
How is this possible? How could it actually work? I’ll tell you: it’s a miracle. A miracle of faith, of being able to believe in the God who created the universe and to totally trust him and his way to the point of obedience. If we seek him, listen and obey, we can become his children and He can be our true father. A true father is one whom a child respects and obeys.2 That is how God is. He holds us accountable for what we know and how we act.3 He teaches us. No matter what your past, no matter what your sins, there is forgiveness for you. Your hope is in casting your old life upon the rock of our Master’s love and letting it smash and be destroyed. He will give you a new life of love and salvation. You will find the way to love. It can happen to you.
I know because it happened to me nine years ago. It happened to my husband twenty years ago. We were no better, and maybe no worse than you. We traded in our old ways for His way. We are finding what we always hoped for in the Sixties — a way to love and justice. We got married three years ago at forty and forty-three and our lives are being restored. The damage of the past is being healed. We are receiving understanding. We are gaining wisdom how to raise our children. Our friends help us and put up with our imperfect, hurtful ways. We have found our way back to the Garden.
We are being set free to love. We are able to live in the reality of how we really are, admitting the deep things that cause us pain and suffering — like the ways in us that hurt others. If we don’t admit those ways and acknowledge them as sin, allowing the pain to break us inside, there is no way for love to enter our hearts and souls. The way we are can never escape us; it is what everyone lives with every day, the pain of it, or else the numbness. But here, at home in our Communities, we can be saved from the pride of life that destroys the human heart. We can be humble without fear. We can take the risk.
The same doubts and fears that cause you not to be the wife, husband, parent, friend or lover that you want to be don’t go away, but there is a remedy. This is the essence of why God sent his son to earth — He suffered for all our wrong ways, including yours and mine. We can only receive healing by his grace and by his spirit. This is salvation, this love that allows us to face ourselves with the confidence of having the remedy. It provides us with the motivation and the power behind the true movement of God on earth. This answer is beginning to restore love and justice through relationships — between man and woman, parent and child, friend and neighbor. The solution is radical, causing change at the core, the root, which is the human heart. It’s the foundation, the key, the beginning of the restoration of all things that must come about as a demonstration to usher in the New Age.
It is real. We help marriages to come together here, and to stay together. I am thankful.