Yesterday I posted a segment of my interview with author Brienne Murk. Murk wrote Eyes Wide Open: Avoiding the Heartbreak of Emotional Promiscuity. This book serves as a great springboard for us to start talking about emotional purity.
Let’s continue that conversation.
Erin: Tell us more about your book. What inspired you to write it?
Brienne: When I was sixteen years old, the Lord drew my attention to Proverbs 4:23, which says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” As I began to meditate on that verse, I realized that true purity had to mean more than just practicing sexual abstinence, so I began to search the Scriptures, seek the Lord for understanding, and talk to teens and adults wherever I went.
I learned that emotions can’t be trusted, because no matter how much we may want to believe them, they are deceptive and will get us into trouble. I also realized that practicing sexual abstinence while engaging in premature emotional intimacy is not true purity. When we fall into the trap of thinking that it is, we begin the process of becoming ensnared by emotional promiscuity. We fail to realize how easy (and dangerous) it is to give our hearts away long before we give our bodies.
The Bible reveals a higher standard for relationships than our culture’s standard, because unlinke in magazines and movies, true purity is not connected merely to our sexuality, but to every part of our lives.
Erin: What role do you think the media plays in our development of unholy fantasy lives?
Brienne: A BIG one! In fact, I believe the media is the number one reason emotional promiscuity is running rampant among Christians today (guys and girls – married and unmarried, young and old). The relationships portrayed in the media (in movies, magazines, newspapers, and on television) aren’t reality – they’re a feeble counterfeit of the true love that God intended for us to experience (first in our relationship with him, then in relationship with our spouse). Furthermore, they foster unhealthy fantasies that will never be fulfilled – leaving us discontent and unsatisfied.
Erin: Why are you passionate about this message?
Brienne: As a single young woman, it grieves me to see so many young people making poor choices in relationships.
Whether because of sexual permissiveness or emotional promiscuity, the pain and devastation accompanying a broken heart can seem unbearable. In this day and age of MySpace, cell phones and Instant Messages, we’ve gotten so caught up in “living for the moment” that we’ve forgotten to guard our most precious treasure—our hearts. And, as a result, there is an entire generation of Christian young people who are making a commitment to physical abstinence but who are practicing emotional promiscuity.
Playing with love is no laughing matter, no matter how fun it might seem. We can’t afford to forget the dire warning of Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitfully wicked.” We can’t rely on our hearts to lead us in the right direction because we’ll get lost—every time. The only way to live in true purity is to surrender every singe part of our lives to Christ.
This book will not only help young people learn the secret of guarding their hearts, but it will also challenge teens to strive toward Christ-centered relationships.
What do you think about Brienne’s stance on purity? Can you think of a time when you failed to “guard your heart above all things?” What were the consequences? What are some practical steps you can take to avoid emotional promiscuity? Specifically, how can you change your media habits to better protect your heart?