Tragic? Hardly. A good lesson? You bet. High profile examples provide much needed warnings for young people about discretion and privacy. They provide healthy fear; even wisdom. What they don’t provide, however, is an opportunity for us to preach morality.
After all, why should people be moral? Have you ever asked this? Why do we ever restrict sensual urges? Is it only to avoid judgment at the hands of Bible-thumping Christians (like me) still holding to “antiquated” ideals?
Perhaps you’ve noticed that young people today tend to wear clothing. It’s true! But why are they so Puritanical? Why so modest? Here’s why: They actually enjoy physical privacy, along with casual interaction devoid of prolonged looks at their…stuff. These kids aren’t avoiding the Lord’s loyal fan base. They’re avoiding each other. Without admitting it, today’s teens find varying levels of morality to be perfectly natural—and as it happens, quite fashionable.
That in mind, I still wonder why they ever set morality aside. I suppose, to the degree they go public, stripping off layers draws them favorable attention. They’re seeking value. And thanks to the miracles of modern technology and piracy, their publicity can jump to viral status with one tap on a bored hacker’s keypad.
That’s a lot of value…of the creepy kind. Think of several guys my age (I’m 51) leering at a college girl. Creeeeeeeeeepy. Fortunately for the young lass, men my age tend to nod off every few minutes, waking up later in confusion, wondering why all these people are trying to revive us. As a side note, I find this makes driving in traffic a thrilling adventure.
Ah, but since many youngsters do expose themselves online for creepy old men, perhaps a Christian zealot like me should offer some sort of moral guidance. Here goes:
Young Americans, it’s natural to enjoy looking good (so I’m told). It’s also natural to enjoy sex.
What is not natural is earning your value. Those who value you more because you remove more clothing or round the bases toward that intimate home run will…well…devalue you if you either stop or reverse course altogether. No matter how much you enjoy the attention or passion, there’s that little voice in your head saying, “If I stop now, what will he/she think?” Thus, with every base—or piece of clothing—you are preventing their disappointment. You’re earning your value, and at your deepest level, you know you shouldn’t have to. Thus, you feel cheap.
That’s why we Christians (among others) advise waiting until—prepare to groan--marriage. Once the ring is on, that person has already committed fully to your value, leaving you nothing left to earn. In one of life’s great ironies, “that old ball and chain” provides complete intimacy…with no strings attached. Go figure. When Christians recommend waiting, they're not judging young people. They're simply sharing their view that young people are precious.
Let me close this sermon, after which you will uncontrollably dump buckets of money in my collection plate: Your value can’t be earned. It can only be accepted, and that only with a lasting commitment. Yes, you’re really worth that much, and the person robbing your treasure isn’t the older guy catching your snapshots gone viral, or even the panting boyfriend…it’s you. You already know you like modesty, so don’t trade it in to someone who prefers you have less of it.
As for Hollywood’s latest privacy violation, there’s no moral lesson there—unless morality for you is, “Don’t get coked up and post nudies that can be hacked by bitter nerds who’ve never had non-virtual girlfriends.”
Morality isn’t something you do to avoid being caught, but rather, to celebrate being special. Maybe more teens should consider trying it.
And maybe, just maybe, we should consider not scaring them into it.