By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published February 20, 2014
PEACHTREE CITY—There is one central question that speaker and author Jason Evert poses to teens when speaking about the virtue of chastity: “Are you willing to love your spouse before you meet?”
Using humor, statistics and real life experiences, Evert talks to teens about dating, sexual purity and authentic love.
On the weekend of Jan. 24-25, Evert presented the program “Romance Without Regrets” to teenagers at St. Monica Church in Duluth, St. Thomas More Church in Decatur, and Holy Trinity Church in Peachtree City. He also held parent talks, “Raising Pure Families,” in Duluth and Peachtree City.
Heather Garger, the youth minister at Holy Trinity Church, said in addition to parish youth, teens from Our Lady of Mercy High School in Fayetteville, St. George Church in Newnan, and a Methodist church attended.
Evert told the teens that those who are chaste until marriage have a divorce rate that is 70 percent lower than that of other couples.
Together with his wife, Crystalina, Evert runs Chastity Project. He has spoken to more than 1 million high school and college students around the globe. After each talk, he often speaks and listens to teens individually about their personal experiences.
Evert talked about one young man who approached him after a talk, not understanding why chastity was so important. Evert asked the young man to consider how he would want his own wife to have been treated as a young person. And the tables were turned, said Evert.
“For the first time in his life, he thought of his future bride,” he said. “Set the same standard for yourself.”
In his booklet for teens, “Pure Love,” Evert includes what God says about real love and impurity, and how the human body should be used to glorify God.
One Scripture verse Evert uses in his presentation is from the Letter to the Ephesians, calling all to live in the light rather than engage in immorality and impurity.
Evert also talked about the disparity in how young men and young women are viewed when they have premarital sex.
“They get called completely different names for the same behavior,” said Evert.
Evert says many times these young women do not have a positive father figure or no father at all to offer affection. In his parent talks, Evert encourages parents to fill up their children’s hearts in a healthy way at home.
“We long for authentic love … we just don’t know where to find it,” he said.
Evert uses his own experiences and those of his wife so teens may learn from them. As a teenager, Evert struggled with and overcame addiction to pornography.
“It’s decimating,” said Evert about pornography’s effect on families.
His wife rededicated herself to purity after an unhealthy relationship as a teen. Her new path started after attending a chastity talk.
“She started over,” said Evert. “She started waiting for me.”
The Everts now have five children.
“The point is redemption of the human heart is possible,” said Evert.
Evert reminded the young men in the audience that to love someone is to do what’s best for her. It’s about love and sacrifice versus lust and pleasure.
“On the crucifix you have masculinity,” said Evert about self-sacrifice.
Evert also encouraged girls to be modest in dress.
“Teach boys about your dignity,” he said.
If someone is demanding a relationship be sexual, or it already is, remove the lust component from the picture. That’s how you will know if it’s real, said Evert.
“It’s the love test,” he said.
One teen showed Evert a notebook about his girlfriend entitled “100 Ways to Love Kelsey” and none of the handwritten items involved sex.
Evert said that sex just covers up an absence of love, and that abstaining is itself an expression of love.
Although Evert has plenty of startling statistics about sexually transmitted diseases, he doesn’t use them to cause fear. He hopes by talking about disease prevalence that teens and parents will be educated on what the human body is designed for and what it should not be used for.
“Real protection is the virtue of purity,” said Evert.
To stay strong in commitment to purity, Evert encourages teens to have good friends, to go to Mass often, and the sacrament of reconciliation. He joked that no priest would rush to call the Vatican after hearing their confessions.
Evert also encourages having a good role model such as NFL quarterback Philip Rivers, who speaks openly about chastity and waiting himself for marriage.
“Purity is a gift of heaven,” explained Evert.
The ministry Chastity Project offers several resources for teens online at www.chastityproject.com and also has a Facebook page. Evert, who earned a master’s degree in theology and undergraduate degrees in counseling and theology, is the author of “Theology of the Body for Teens” and “How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul.”
Evert also reminds girls that in high school you find your bridesmaids, not usually your husband.
“Your life is going to go so far beyond those walls,” he said.
The power of prayer is also with all people who attend Evert’s programs. Everywhere he goes, Evert requests prayers for the people hearing the talks.
“All these prayers are descending on you,” he said.
In conclusion, Evert told the teens the story of a young girl buried alive with classmates after an earthquake in Armenia. The child told her friends that her father would be coming for her. Many hours later, and after much digging by hand, her father did indeed rescue her. Evert compared that parental love to the love of God.
“He’s always there to welcome you home,” said Evert.