Last week, I was invited to speak at a college here in Nashville on relationships.  I just love talking to people that age; not to sound patronizing in any way, but when you’re 17-25, you really do tend to think that you are a lot like Michael Jackson’s most slept on LP–uh, “Invincible”.

OK, enough corniness, let me get back to my point.

So, anyway, as we were discussing relationships, sex, drama and everything else in between, one of the other speakers spoke on what always comes up when the subject of illicit sex is mentioned: contracting an STD.  She went on to share how misleading those genital herpes commercials tend to be by telling people that your life is “fine” even if you are diagnosed with it.

(Sidebar: Let me just say that if you have it, life can be fine—as fine as it can be with an STD that has no cure, but it’s far better never getting it, right?  Moving on).

Here’s a loosely paraphrased part in the script:  “I’ve only had one outbreak this year and I didn’t pass it on to my partner.”

Don’t you just love how those people look all pretty and cheery as they profess that they love their partner so much that they will do their best to medicate their problem before doing the deed?  And even worse, as the speaker went on the share her thoughts on the situation, it was irritating to her that everyone is running along the beach looking all romantic when in reality what those advertisers need to be doing is presenting a few shots of what that “just once a year outbreak” actually looks like.  Hmm.  Talk about a reality check.

Now, I won’t even get into how disturbing I find those “medication commercials” to be (is it just me or does it seem like the side affects tend to be worse than the actual ailment?); but, I do want to bring up something that I shared with the students because if you have ever been sexually involved with someone who’s not your wife or husband or if you plan on doing it again (cause the reality is that a lot of people who are reading this are not abstinent, this I know), what I’m about to say serves as a gentle reminder:

“There are all kinds of ways to catch an STD.”

It wasn’t super long ago (under five years to be exact) when I discovered I had contracted Chlamydia.  The crazy thing was that I had been abstinent for quite some time once I received the news during a yearly check up.  My doctor told me that it had “slipped through the cracks” because it was probably lying dormant in my system.

Now, there is a lesson in that alone.  When God said in his Word that he is not mocked and what you sow, you will reap (Galatians 6:7), he never says when…just that you will; sometimes the seeds that you planted, even if it was a long time ago, can bring forth a harvest that will blow your mind at a time when you least expect it.

OK, but that’s still not my point.  Here it goes:

“While some of us have not and may never get an STD—Sexually Transmitted Disease—in our body, if you choose to participate in illicit sex, you will still contract one…in your heart.”

See, that’s the thing about sin.  When the Bible says that the wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23), we tend to be way too “hell in the afterlife” minded.  I am here to tell you that disobedience can earn you a one-way ticket straight to hell right here on earth, especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

What we need to acknowledge and then accept is that any time you lay down with someone who does not belong to you (and they don’t belong to you unless you have a marriage certificate to back it up), not only are you coveting and stealing (looka there, breaking two commandments in one shot), but as one of my closest friend’s mother puts it, you are creating a soul tie.  In other words, you are not just making yourself one physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well.

Just like those who fall into the 17-25 bracket who feel like a condom will protect them from any physical hurt, harm or danger, there are many of us who believe that a “one night stand”, a “casual understanding”, a “friends with benefits” situation, or even the promise of “I love you so this is making love” scenario can prevent you from contracting a sexually transmitted disease of the heart.  This is so not true.  Just as there is no 100% condom for the body, there is no condom for the heart, either.  To protect yourself from potential disease physically or emotionally, the only failsafe precaution is abstinence.

The truth is that when you choose to be sexually active, it can lead to contracting Chlamydia, Herpes, HIV or hundreds of other viruses that are discovered yearly, but it can also lead to “ailments” like bitterness, envy, low self-esteem, anger, fear, extreme compromise (to the point of not even knowing yourself anymore), baggage (to the point of taking ten years ago into this year), vengeance, malice…you catch my drift.  Sadly so many of us are more concerned with passing on bodily fluids when what we need to be more cautious about is passing on spirits.  If you don’t trust someone enough to give them your body without a barrier, why oh why would you give them your emotions, your spirit, your soul?

I can attest to the fact that the cure for Chlamydia is so much easier than the cure for a broken, shattered, or diseased heart.  Ten days on antibiotics can knock out certain “bugs”, but years later, I am still working on getting the experiences of certain people out of my system.

I’m not preaching.  You’re gonna do what you want to do.  God gave you the power of choice and I choose to respect that. I just wanted to make sure that you saw what you were really getting into before you made any big plans tonight.

A condom can and will only do so much.  Trust me.