The Bachelorette and Holiness
BY MATTHEW CASTRO
Let me say this on the front end, so that no one is confused or worried. I have never watched one episode of the Bachelor or Bachelorette. However, a controversy erupted this week from the latest Bachelorette episode that has ushered into the mainstream the subject of Christianity and sexual purity. For those of you like me, who do not watch the Bachelorette, I will share what happened.
Hannah Brown is the newest Bachelorette, who is surrounded by eligible bachelors attempting to woo her. One of the contestants is Luke Parker. On one of their dates during the show, Luke confessed to Hannah that he did not want to be in a relationship with her if she had sex with any of the other bachelors on the show. Luke said to Hannah, “The marriage bed should be kept pure. I know you’re not a virgin. We’ve had the talk. You know I’m not. I’ve been abstaining myself for three-and-a-half to four years now. And I know that regardless of what I’ve done in the past, I am saving myself for marriage. And am very confident we’re on the same page with our morals, and I want to hear it from your mouth. I just want to make sure you’re not going to be sexually intimate with the other relationships here. If you told me you had sex with one or multiple of these guys, then I’d be wanting to go home, 100 percent.” This comment by Luke caused Hannah to send him packing.
Hannah had sex with one of the contestants, Peter, during the show on their fantasy date in Crete. This event led to an argument between Hannah and Luke about Christianity and sex. Luke and Hannah both claim to be Christians. Hannah said to Luke before he left, “I have had sex, and Jesus still loves me. And with how you feel, me (having sex in a windmilll), you probably want to leave.” Hannah confirmed to Luke that she did have sex with one of the other bachelors on the show. She was filmed smiling about her public confession.
The fight was rekindled after the episode was aired on Twitter. Luke wrote, “The difference in how we view sin is seen in the response. I’m weeping at mine and you’re laughing at yours. All sin stings. My heart hurts for both of us.” Hannah then responded, “Time and time again Jesus loved and ate with ‘sinners’ who laughed. And time and time again he rebuked ‘saints’ that judged. Where do you fall Luke?” Luke then responded to Hannah, “There is a difference between eating with sinners who laugh and sinners who laugh at their sin. Sin is the very thing that put Jesus on the cross and that’s not a laughing matter.” Hannah ended the tweet battle with one more comment, “I have never said that I find my sin funny. I’m not going to be lectured on appropriate emotional responses by a guy who threw deli meat in a guy’s lap. The devil wants to shame sin. God dealt with shame when he dealt with sin, so I will not allow someone who comes in the name of God to bring me something that God has taken off me.” The Bachelorette just erupted a theological debate about sin and holiness for the masses to absorb.
The aftermath of the fight has led Luke to be named a slut-shamer. Now, I think Luke’s tactics were bad. I don’t think being a contestant on the Bachelorette is the best way to find a wife. Second, he did pretty much assume she had sex with one of these guys, which put him in a prideful state. He even stated in their conversation that he was okay with her slipping up with one of the guys, but he had a problem if she slept with multiple guys. I am not sure what the major difference is here. As if he is saying, that one time is okay but multiple times just makes you a slut. Not sure that is the best way to argue your case.
He stated his conviction about sex before marriage and then started to make exceptions for his beliefs. Hannah might have reacted the same way, but at least he would have been consistent. Luke has the right to state that he doesn’t want a wife, who slept with another guy from the show. Maybe he should have stated that in the beginning, when he was auditioning for the show or during one of their first dates or introductions. The possibility of winning the game seem to be his highest priority as he tried to back pedal on his stance.
Not sure the show permits the possibility of honest and difficult conversations like the one Luke attempted to spark with Hannah that are healthy and effective. The show itself is erroneous, because the possibility of a healthy relationship emerging between the Bachelorette and the winner at the end is nearly impossible. Relationships in the real world are nothing like what is presented on the Bachelorette, where romances are ignited by producers with cameras.
But I am more interested in Hannah’s view of sex as a Christian. She said, “I have had sex, and Jesus still loves me.” She is referring to her and the contestant, Peter, who she slept with during the show. She made light of the event. Luke referred to this laughing attitude towards her decision to have sex with a contestant during the show. Hannah believes Jesus doesn’t care what decisions she makes, because Jesus loves her. She then defended her actions and attitude with Jesus’s tendency to dine with sinners and speak harshly to Pharisees, which she mistakenly called saints. Hannah is not the first person to use this defense for their justification of sin.
However, Hannah uses Jesus as her defender for her sin. Luke is right. Sin is the very thing that put Jesus on the cross. We should never justify our sin or make light of it. Hannah’s love for Christ should lead her to abide in Christ and follow his word. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” Those who are Christians have died to their former self and now live for him who died and raised. This means Christians cannot do whatever feels right, but they are controlled by the love of Christ.
I hope Hannah is convicted of her sin with Peter and seeks forgiveness from God. She is a temple of the Lord. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belgian? Or what portion does a believer share with unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God.” She sinned with Peter and a temple of the living God should not do that. She made light of her sin. A temple of the living God should not do that.
The bigger temptation here is to sympathize with Hannah and judge Luke as self-righteous creep. However, as Christians, we must not make light of and defend sin. Our sin did put Jesus on the cross. God’s wrath and hatred of sin was put on display on the cross of Christ. How can God’s temple partner and fellowship with sin? Too often Christians partner and fellowship with sin in sex. Hannah is not some outlier. She is instead the norm. This trend was put on display to the world to see that Christians really aren’t that different from the world. Some Christians are just jerks, who want to shame others on sex and others are just like everyone else. Jesus doesn’t love your sin. He did not save you, so that you can continue to sin and use his love for you as your great justifier.