Pre-marital Sex

As with many moral dilemmas in our society, sex before marriage is becoming more and more acceptable. It seems as though we are bombarded with the issues of sex at a younger and younger age. Unfortunately, that means that as Christians, our choice to abstain from sex until marriage is no longer popular.

I know sex is a very touchy subject for many people. Teenagers are scared and curious. Some of you probably want to talk about it, but aren’t sure how. I think the biblical answer is simple and straightforward: The only way that sex is not a sin is when it is inside a marriage. “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). Yet our country has a huge problem (and not just with teenagers) of sex outside of marriage.

The first reason many teenagers give for excusing sex is that the two love each other and will be together eventually anyway. My first response to that is that if you are going to be together anyway, why not wait? Having sex because you believe you are in love is not a reason for sex. What happens once you have sex and then one of you goes off to college, or you break up and date other people? You are left feeling used and betrayed. If you are in love and are going to be together, you can wait until the commitment of marriage has been made before having sex. God does not withhold sex from single people to make them miserable. He understands the emotional baggage and physical regrets that we may face.

I know most of you have heard this a hundred times: if he loves you, he will wait. It took me a long time to believe that. As teenage girls, we feel a lot of pressure from friends and boyfriends to have sex. Sometimes it gets to the point where you believe that if you have sex with him, he will love you. But, I promise you, it is just the opposite. You do not have to prove your love by having sex with him. And if he believes or says that he will love you more after you’ve had sex, he has a wrong and unbiblical idea of love.

Contrary to many teenagers’ beliefs, there is no mysterious club you join once you have had sex. It does not make you more mature, it does not make you wiser. In actuality, by choosing to have sex before marriage you open yourself up to a lot of pain and disappointment.

Pre-marital sex opens the door to various problems, including sexually transmitted diseases that even protection cannot protect you from. There are risks of pregnancy, AIDS, HIV, Chlamydia, and many others that can affect your future relationships as well as your health and ability to have children. First Corinthians 6:18 tells us, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” Your only protection is abstinence.

It seems as though in our society more and more teenage girls get pregnant. And while I am not saying this should be acceptable, they are many times judged at school by girls who are doing the same thing, but just have not gotten caught. I will never forget the first time I personally knew someone who got pregnant. My best friend found out at the beginning of our senior year that she was pregnant. Many people called her names and judged her because of this. Yet, later in the day you would hear them talking about doing the same act that got her in that situation. Does avoiding pregnancy make having sex okay? NO. The pregnancy is not the sin. The act of pre-marital sex is.

I know the damage pre-marital sex can cause all too well. As hard as it is for me to talk about, I have been there. I had pre-marital sex. Because of that, I contracted something called HPV. It is a virus that causes cervical cancer. (Although there is now a vaccine, they did not have that out when this happened to me.) When I was 18, the doctor found pre-cancerous cells on my ovaries and cervix. After several procedures to remove those cells, I was told I could never have children. I will never forget that day. I was too afraid to tell my parents, especially my mom. How could I ever have let this happen to me? I thought protection meant I was protected. Not so. There is NO protection that protects 100 percent––except abstinence. I sat and cried for days. I knew now my future was nothing. Who would want to ever marry me? I could not have babies and I had not saved myself for my husband. I could easily sit and blame my bad decisions on lack of self-esteem and wanting to be liked. But I take full responsibility for what I did. I asked God to forgive me for my actions and I learned to forgive myself.

Although God blessed me and my husband with a child, I will never forget that my bad decisions could have taken that away from me. I know it was only by the grace of God that I was granted a second chance at becoming a mom. I realize, though, that God knew what the future could hold for me. But, in my rush to grow up, I didn’t take into consideration the damage I was doing to myself and my body.

I only hope that my story will help some of you to make better decisions than I made. If you are having sex before marriage, I strongly urge you to reconsider your decision. Just because you have had sex before with someone does not mean you have to continue that aspect of your relationship. On the other hand, if you talk to your boyfriend about your feelings and he wishes to continue the physical aspect of the relationship anyway, than this is a relationship that you have to end. Remember that while this may be someone you love and want to be with, if that person loved you back, they would respect your feelings and God’s commands. If you know someone who may be in a relationship like this, talk to them about it. Explain that pressure and self-esteem are not reasons to have sex. Most importantly, if you or someone you know needs to be tested and/or have a health screening, know that there are places you can go to get help. County health departments can treat you, and your treatment can be confidential. Don’t think that because you made a mistake, you have to go untreated. The first step in changing your present is letting go of your past.

By Sarah J. Ancheta


“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

Anger is probably something we are all so used to dealing with that we don’t even give it a second thought. It seems in our society that anger and rage have taken over almost everything. Sometimes the way we deal with our anger, and the anger of others, only makes the situations worse.

First we must understand what makes us angry. I can tell you now that the number one thing that makes me angry is traffic. I say a prayer every time I run into traffic for God to give me patience until I get out of it. I never really had a huge problem with it until I moved to a bigger city. After the first few times stuck in traffic, I began to think of why I let myself get so worked up over it. I realized that it was mostly because the traffic was caused by people not paying attention.

I know that there are specific reasons why we get angry, but I think that for all of them, there are sinful, basic reasons––selfishness, impatience––all of which are discussed in the Bible, and none of which God excuses. Having a good reason does not excuse our anger. We must overcome that anger. But what could I do to change the situation? I can’t force the cars to move. I can’t drive on the side of the road to get to my exit. So, I just have to get over it. Whatever your situation, once you have found the source of your anger, you have to figure out what you can do about it. Is it something you can change? If it is, then fix the situation so that it doesn’t tempt you to get angry anymore. Most importantly, pray for God to change your heart, and be aware that by dwelling on anger, you are sinning. If there isn’t a way to fix the situation then you have to learn to deal with what you are given. No matter what, you need to take care of it immediately. “Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26).

Sometimes, you may just want to deal with the problem on your own. Sometimes anger can be personal, and we need to prayerfully work it out with ourselves. Other times it helps to talk about your anger or frustrations with a friend who can hold you accountable. If you are struggling with a problem, don’t be afraid to talk it out. A good friend usually doesn’t mind hearing you discuss your struggles. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about it with a friend, then talk to a parent, teacher, or counselor. Sometimes when you think it is a situation you can’t change, another person will give you a completely different perspective and just might have the answer you have been searching for.  Be careful, however, If your anger involves someone else; only confide in one trustworthy person and guard your words, or you may fall into the trap of gossiping (Proverbs 20:19).

We all get angry for various reasons. Usually it is at others or circumstances, but sometimes it is even at ourselves. The important thing to remember is that we cannot let our angry control us. Anger can be hurtful and it can take over if it goes unaddressed. If left unchecked, anger can turn into violence and can lead to a lot of trouble that could have been avoided if only we had addressed the issue at the root of our anger.

As Christians, remember that you are never alone. You can always turn to Jesus. Pray about it. Pray that God will help you let go of your anger. Always trust that God will hear your prayer. You may not always get the answer you want when you want it, but rest assured you will get an answer. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). We have the opportunity to show the world that we have the choice to make something good come out of an otherwise bad situation.

By Sarah J. Ancheta

Sexual Harassment

It seems inevitable that during high school we will all, at some time or another, witness or experience sexual harassment. Whether it is a catcall, an obscene gesture, or a crude comment, they are all the same thing. Understanding why this happens is not easy, but knowing what to do when it happens to us or someone we know is important.

So, what is sexual harassment? How will we know when something is sexual harassment? Sexual harassment consists of any verbal or physical behavior that is sexual in nature. It can include gestures, comments, inappropriate touching, or brushing up against someone.

I will be the first to admit that sometimes it seems as though the claim of sexual harassment is used any time anyone gets offended. However, the problem is when the offense does not stop. Harassment comes when someone continually does something to make you uncomfortable. It is always important to remember that everyone interprets things differently. But, if it offends you, then it could be sexual harassment. If someone is doing something or saying something that offends you, tell them to stop. If you do not tell them, they may not be aware that what they are doing is offensive. However, if the person continues to offend you by acting this way, it becomes harassment.

As women, most of us have personally been harassed or have witnessed it. I personally have experienced it. After I graduated from high school, I worked at a local pizza place. One night while I was closing my station, the guy from the station next to me came over and brushed up against me. At first, it didn’t bother me. I thought it was an accident. But then he started laughing and came over and did it again. This time, I knew that it was on purpose. But, nothing had really happened. He was “just” brushing against my back.

The next day, I was at the salad bar cleaning up, and he brushed against me again. This time, though, it was not my back, and he stood there touching me a little longer. I stood up and told him to stop. He just laughed and said he didn’t know what I was talking about. I was not sure at all what to do. If I told, I knew he would just say it was an accident. I didn’t want to lose my job. I was also afraid if I told, it might actually get worse.

So, for a week or so, I just endured it. I mean, I didn’t know what to do, and I figured that if I just insisted enough, he would stop. Finally, one night, I could not take it anymore. I found the manager and explained the situation. He said to go about my work and he would watch carefully so that he could stop the guy if he started harassing me. Sure enough, when it came time for clean up, the guy came to my workspace and started saying things to me and brushing up against me. My manager popped out and asked why he was in my space rather than cleaning up his own. The guy had no answer. Then the manager told him that he had heard what was said to me. The manager moved the guy to a different part of the store and put him on probation. While I personally would have liked to have seen him fired, the fact that at least it had stopped was enough for me.

Remember that just because someone is sexually harassing you, it does not mean you have done anything to cause it. It could happen to anyone, at any time, in any place. Whoever is doing it is wrong. Not only in the eyes of the law, but also in the eyes of God. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16).

Being scared and angry is understandable in that kind of situation. But it does not mean that you should not alert someone to what is happening. By not telling, you are not only hurting yourself; that person could be doing the same thing, or worse, to others. Tell someone. You can tell a trusted teacher or a parent. You could find any mature adult with whom you feel comfortable. Tell a friend and have them go with you for support if that makes you feel better, but do not let it go. If the first person you talk to does not take you seriously, find someone else. It is not always easy, but it is important that you continue to search until you find someone who can stop this person from harassing you and/or others.

While I know that this is very difficult to do, especially in situations such as these, it is important that we forgive the person. Even if someone does not ask for forgiveness, it is important to forgive them anyway. Not for their peace, but for our own. We have to be able to stop the situation and then let it go and move forward. By harvesting that pain caused by this person’s actions, we only make life miserable for ourselves. I know you will never forget what has happened. I haven’t forgotten what happened to me, but I do forgive the person for acting the way he did. He obviously did not have God leading him.

I am not going to say that any of this will be easy. It will be hard to tell what happened to you, it will be hard to forgive, but by doing these things, it will show your strength and faith in God. Let Him lead you through difficult situations and others will see His light in you.

By Sarah J. Ancheta

Freedom of Expression

As U.S. citizens, we are given the freedom to express ourselves in many ways that people in other countries are not. Two of those ways are through our dress and speech.

First Timothy 2:9 says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety…” Most people would not argue that a Christian should be modestly dressed. But, what is modest? That is where there is a difference of opinion.

Freedom in Dress

I will be the first to admit that it is hard to find well-fitting clothes–I am tall and very curvy. Especially clothes that make me feel pretty and comfortable, and still are modest at the same time.

As Christians, we know that everything we do or don’t do is watched by others.  Anywhere we go, one of the first things that people notice about others is what they are wearing. While I do not believe in judging a book by its cover, I do believe, as Christians, we need to at least have a cover on! We all have our own standards on what is modest and what is not. I cannot sit and tell you what you can and can’t wear, but I can help you make your decisions based on God’s Word.

As young women, we deal with our bodies changing almost every day. We begin to have curves that we didn’t have before, and suddenly we begin to be recognized by boys. I am not going to say that the recognition is based solely on looks, but you have to ask yourself when you put on your clothes if it is going to give someone the wrong impression of you.

If a boy can see a lot of your skin, will he then want to touch your skin? Will that make him want something more? I am in no way saying that you have to be covered from head to toe, but I am saying that maybe we need to think a little more about what is covered and what is not before we go out with our friends, or even to worship service. We need to train our hearts to want what is right to God, rather than what we think should be right.

Freedom in Speech

Another way we express ourselves is through speech. I know that slang changes with every generation, so even though I am not that old, I know the slang from my day is out. But, it seems as though more and more internet slang is being used in everyday life. We have to be careful not to get pulled into this. Just because you are using acronyms instead of the word doesn’t make it acceptable by any means. And I am not only talking about curse words. The hate that can be displayed through acronyms is astonishing to me. It is almost as if there is a completely different language online used to hurt people and gossip, to abuse and defame.

James 3:5-6 tells us, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”

What we say affects all of God’s church. If someone knows you are a member of the Church but hears you saying something horrible about someone or using language that is questionable, he or she will think that the Church is full of hypocrites. It is the same thing with online acronyms. Just because it is a letter of the alphabet and not the actual word does not mean that it is not effective. To the person who reads it, it still means the same thing.

Using inappropriate language is, unfortunately, becoming more and more acceptable in our world. Like any habit, cursing is one that is hard to change. If you already use that kind of language, perhaps to help yourself to stop, you should fill your vocabulary with other words. Find a word in the dictionary and try to learn a new word each day (of course, it has to be one that is appropriate). Force yourself to find words to express your feelings without using vulgar language.

Whether you decide to pull out your dictionary or not, it is always best to think before you speak. I know we have all heard that many times, but it is definitely one of the easiest ways to keep yourself from saying something you do not really mean. Perhaps if we all thought a little more about what we were saying, and doing, we would not make many of the mistakes that we do.

So, as we celebrate freedom as a nation, let’s remember that as a Christian, we must always express ourselves in a way that shows others who truly sets us free, Jesus.

By Sarah Ancheta

Having a Sober Summer

It is summer! No school, no homework, just free time to relax, kick back with some friends, and …have a beer? Smoke a joint? It will help pass the time, right? Or will doing those things just make you lose your sense of time? I mean, who wants to remember their summer anyway? There is nothing better to do…or is there?

Many people have heard the phrase “beer goggles.” That phrase means that while someone was drunk, they thought something looked better than what it really did. Isn’t that the same reason people give for trying beer in the first place? They say, “It will take the edge off; it will help you to be yourself.” They tell you how all of your worries and your problems with whatever is wrong in your life will just disappear. Plus, you will instantly be part of this new group of people who are way more mature than any of the non-drinkers. You know that guy you like? Drink a beer with him—you will both relax, and he might even ask you out.

I know all the excuses. I have heard all the lines. I have seen that crowd of people and wanted nothing more than to fit in with them. I learned that, just as other people realize that they were deceived by their so-called “beer goggles,” after drinking, you realize that you, too, were deceived.

Isaiah 28:7 states, “…they are swallowed up with wine, they are out of the way through strong drink, they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.” Alcohol removes the body’s sense of judgment. It slows the reflexes, blurs the vision, and fogs the mind. Someone who is drunk mumbles their words, stumbles in their steps, and loses their sense of self control. Drinking can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, and passing out only to wake up still sick.

Drinking can also lead people into a rage. Their emotions become heightened, and they are not able to make sense of regular, everyday situations. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). Drinking leads people to break the law. Underage drinking, public intoxication, contributing to the delinquency of a minor (for whoever buys the alcohol), and driving under the influence are just a few of the laws that pertain to the actual act of drinking. The behavior that is then brought on by drinking can lead to other charges, such as vandalism, trespassing, assault, and sometimes even rape. When you drink, you open yourself up to irreparable harm brought on by others. In these situations, others may or may not be under the influence. But either way, you leave yourself open to be taken advantage of. “Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted” (Proverbs 31:5).

While being drunk may make you forget your problems, it does not mean that they are not there. If anything, it will make them worse. When you make the decision to drink, you are still responsible for anything you do or say while in a drunken stupor. When you make a bad decision, such as driving while intoxicated, you are responsible for any injuries you cause due to your drunken state. I guarantee that any decision you make while drunk you will in some way regret the next morning. If you even make it to the next morning. Many people make the decision while drunk to drive or to ride with someone who has been drinking. Some people never make it to the next day. I don’t say that to scare you. It is a fact.

This is the part where addiction becomes an issue. When you awaken with a “hangover,” your body aching and unsure of what did or didn’t happen the night before, you regret getting drunk. Then that whole idea that drinking can make you forget pops back into your mind. So, you drink to forget that you drank. And, so, the vicious cycle begins. You soon have a taste for the alcohol and will do whatever it takes to stay in the state of mind where you don’t care about anything. Not yourself, not your family, but most importantly, not God. As young Christian women, we should do as we are told in Ephesians 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the spirit.”

While the Bible does not specifically mention drugs by name as it does wine, rational judgment tells us that they fall into the same category. Isn’t alcohol a drug? It is addicting, it causes physical, mental, and emotional issues. They take lives, ruin families, hurt feelings, and take people away from the Lord. Being under the influence of drugs can affect your judgment as much as alcohol can. Just as alcohol ruins your stomach lining and causes sclerosis of the liver, drugs can do numerous things to your body. While the results can vary greatly, ranging from lung cancer to heart disease, the list in between is long. Is it ok to take something, knowing it can hurt you? First Corinthians 6:19 tells us, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” We belong to God, and our decisions need to be an example of that commitment to Him.

There are actually several verses in the Bible that tell us to be sober. “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, and be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, we are told, “Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”

Making the decision to quit drinking or doing drugs is usually easy, but following through is not. It involves removing something you have become dependent upon from your life. Sometimes this involves an inpatient treatment center, counseling, and even moving to remove yourself from situations that could cause you to backslide. If you or someone you know has a problem with drugs or alcohol and would like help, there are many places out there to turn to. is a great place to start. They are a biblically-based organization set up to help give people more information about overcoming drug and alcohol use and to do so by looking to God for guidance. Their toll-free number is 1-866-642-9271. They are available 24-7 and are completely anonymous, so you do not have to worry about others knowing you called. Christian Crisis Hotline will try to find solutions that work best for different situations. If you need more information about ways to help yourself or someone else, they can help you get started on the right track.

I know that not everyone is perfect. As humans, none of us are. But, this summer, as we try to fill up our free time, let’s all say a prayer and take a vow to have a sober summer.

By Sarah J. Ancheta

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