So I was brought up in a super conservative, super religious and a super full of the "fear-of-men" type culture. One being that I'm Asian, the other being that I was brought up in a country where Islam is the main religion, bringing shame which naturally seeps into every sphere of society, including the church.
Being raised in a single parent family did not help too. Because my dad was verbally abusive, my mom left him, bringing two young girls along. My sister was a newborn and I was almost three when the separation happened. The move was great, really helpful to our spiritual upbringing, but it did not help us in our "hormonal" upbringing. hahaha! You see, my mom's side of the family were filled with powerful women (mostly single), totally sold out to God. Naturally conveying the message that to be powerful for Jesus, it is better to be single (which is a total lie, now that I'm seeing) and that it's culturally normal and even accepted for men to be less passionate for Jesus than their spouse (another crazy lie we should just laugh at). Also, we have never talked about sex. 27 years of my life and not one word muttered (Ok, that maybe a little exaggerating. Maybe we did talk about it when '50 Shades' came out, and how we discussed that was not how sex was created to be, end of story).
With that said, I was brought up thinking that every christian is a virgin until marriage, up until I came to BSSM. Man did I have a great "Rude Awakening" from the Lord! To fly all the way from Asia to America to have a cultural shock was great in itself, but to realize that most Christians have already had multiple sexual encounters with multiple sexual partners was mind blowing to my "religious" brain. Benji Nolot. director of Nefarious (a documentary about sex trafficking and sex culture- you should go watch it) said that there are two points that hinders the advancement of the Kingdom.
1. Sexual Immorality.
2. Taking Offense
Easy to say that I have passed the first test with flying colors, it's been really tricky to navigate through not taking offense too easily when I see my pals "not living up to the standard God has called us to walk in". It was something I had to desperately ask God for help in, because I realise that most of my most precious and closest friends here at BSSM were not virgins, and if God could look at them as spotless and forgiven, who am I to hold a grudge on them and hold them accountable to their past sins? I'm not God, therefore I'm not judge, and so all I have to do is ask God how He see'd them and look at them through the eyes of my Father. There goes my "ideal marriage" of marrying a virgin! hahaha! But I also took a stupid vow when I was 12 to not marry a guy with tattoos. It's kinda backfiring right now, cos I so want a tattoo too (Seriously! Got the word and spot and "yes" from God more than three times now. All I need now is the finance! lol!)
You see, I'm all about revival. My heart beats for the things of God and I wanna go where He wants me to go, marry the man He says "yes" to, reach a lost generation and fight against human trafficking. However, if I'm gonna allow my religious background to continuously take offense at the things of the world, it's really gonna hinder me from doing the Father's will. Jesus spent most of His time with sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors (corrupt government) and although He hated the sin, He never once hated the sinner. Instead, He chose to look in the face of "ugliness" and say "I love you". #mindblown
So I asked my Revival Group Pastor, how do I not take offense yet at the same time seek to be understood. And he gave four simple steps (yes, christian principles need not be rocket science):
1. Never Assume
2. Seek to Understand
3. Be Understood
4. Find a Resolution
Don't need to come in with too much emotion. Look at the person through the eyes of Jesus. And just love. If Jesus can forgive His betrayers, we can too. And so even as I'm walking through this "Rude Awakening" I'm super grateful to God that He has placed the right mature people around me for such a time as this. And for this I'm eternally grateful. God is so understanding, He's blowing my mind!