I’ve wanted to write this post for a while, but the fear of what people will say or think about me has kept me from writing it. Well, the Lord’s been working on me and last night I finally told Him yes, so here’s this post.
Where to begin. My mind is rolling with so many thoughts and ideas and emotions so it’s hard to decide what I should say first. Let’s start with the word itself: slut. While the dictionary has defined it as someone who has a lot of casual sex, our society uses it to classify a large array of women–those who sleep around, those who wear provocative clothing, those who go from boyfriend to boyfriend, heck, I’ve even heard someone called a slut because they listen to Miley Cyrus’ music. I think the majority of people would agree that “slut” is a negative term, but I’m not writing this post to discuss the specifics of the definition of the word slut. I’m writing it because the church has played a large part in the branding of women as sluts.
“What a slut.” “She’s so slutty.” “Ugh, look at those slutty shorts.” These are all things I’ve heard said by women in the church. These are things I’ve said myself. These are all things that cause serious damage to those both inside and outside of the church. If someone outside of the church overhears my gossipy whispers of “ohmigosh she’s suuuuuch a slut did you hear what she did last weekend” do you think for a minute that they will want to meet the Jesus that I profess so proudly? If someone inside of the church who is struggling with sexual sin hears that same whisper, do you think that they will want to confess that sin and find freedom from it? I’ve heard story after story of girls who are sexually broken but feel they can’t confess because they’re afraid of judgment. Why would I want to confess my struggle to someone who had just condemned another for the same thing I struggle with? Why would I want to confess my sexual brokenness to a woman who has just labelled another girl as a slut? By labelling someone as a slut, we are casting condemnation. We are saying, “You are unworthy. You are not pure enough, not good enough. You’re simply too slutty for Jesus.” WHICH IS THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF WHAT JESUS ACTUALLY DID. Look at the woman at the well. She had been married several times, and the man she was living with wasn’t even her husband. Wow, what a slut, right? But Jesus didn’t call her a slut. He called her “woman,” which is the same word he used when talking to his mother. He used a gentle, loving word, a word that was respectful and kind. He used the same word when speaking to the woman caught in adultery and the prostitute who anointed his feet with oil. Jesus, the only one whose life we should imitate, saw those who we would label as sluts and loved them with His pure, saving love and transformed their lives. But how do you think these stories would end if, instead of speaking respectfully to them, he had called them sluts? Or if he had whispered, “What a slut,” as they had walked by, just like we probably would if we met those women today? Their lives would not have been transformed. By calling people sluts, we are driving them away from the beautifully redemptive grace of God. The word “slut” is a condemning word, a word that casts judgement. We are not called to condemn: Jesus himself came into the world to save it rather than condemn it.
1 Corinthians 6:11 says, “And such were some of you.” AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU. The only thing keeping me from being what the world calls a “slut” is Jesus. Without him, I would be nothing. Without him, I would be a slut. I cannot point fingers at others and call them sluts because I am just as guilty as they are. The only difference is that I have been washed in the blood of Jesus and made pure. I didn’t do that, though–Jesus did. And if we continue to label girls as sluts and label their actions as slutty, they might never know that grace. They might never have the opportunity to find freedom from sin and walk in the light because they are afraid that once their sin is known, they will be labelled a slut, unworthy of the love of Jesus.
So church, STOP CALLING PEOPLE SLUTS. Nothing about that term glorifies God. It is a condemning term. And Jesus didn’t come to bring condemnation, he came to bring GRACE. Yes, sin is wrong. That’s undeniable. But labelling people by their sin in a “holier-than-thou” manner won’t bring people to Jesus, it will actually turn them away. Jesus didn’t look at broken women and think, “Slut,” he looked at them and said, “I don’t condemn you. Go, and don’t sin any more. I am the way to life.” Girls, if you’ve been labelled a slut by the church, I am so sorry. Run to Jesus. There is grace. If you’ve been struggling with sexual brokenness and haven’t confessed because of the fear of gossip and of rejection, run to Jesus. Jesus didn’t save me so that I can look at all the unsaved people in the world and cast judgment on them. He saved me so that though me He can bring that beautifully transformative message of grace and sacrifice to those who need it the most. The church needs to stop focusing on the sin of nonbelievers and start focusing on our commission to make disciples and to love like Jesus loved. I promise that showing sluts love will bring about a lot more change than your condemnation of them will. So go love some broken people today just like Jesus loves the broken you.