[Your] body is not a defensive castle over which the sovereign “self” rules against the incursions of others, but a site owned by God, where he is to be served and glorified—a temple.
It seems to me there’s nothing more counter-cultural we can teach our children at the moment than the statement:
It’s not your body!
We’re (rightly) eager to teach our children the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touch. We don’t want them to be abused or to abuse others. But how do we arm them intellectually to resist such abuse? Western culture tells them to oppose abuse “because it’s your body”. In other words, what makes “abuse” so terrible is that it’s an invasion of the sovereignty of the self. But the Bible teaches exactly the opposite premise: “Don’t let people abuse you, because it’s not your body”. Your body belongs to God—as your Creator, and as your Redeemer (Gen 1:26; 1 Cor 6:19). “Abuse” is wicked not because it’s an attack on the sovereignty of the self, but on the sovereignty of God. That raises the stakes on abuse considerably—think millstones round the neck, and being thrown into the sea (Matt 18:6).
It’s important to see that these aren’t just two equal and equivalent ways of tackling the same problem; one is untrue and destructive. The other is true and, therefore, wholesome.
Firstly, there’s the problem that the underlying logic of what our children are told is false. For example, you’ll often see the slogan “My Body My Choice” on placards at pro-abortion rallies; Amnesty International also use it. But the slogan simply isn’t true. When someone says: “You can’t tell me what to do with my body!”, the simple answer is: “Yes, we can!”. Every time you put on a seat-belt you’re showing that it’s not your body. Every person who puts on a seat-belt is recognising everyone else’s responsibility for your body. No one seriously believes the body is a strip of sovereign territory over which no politician can rule. The body is still very well policed in the UK. The body is political; it always has been and always will be. There is lots of legislation which says what you can and can’t do with your body. Try walking out of your house with no clothes on and it will quickly prove the point! So, firstly, the mantra that’s “it’s your body” is far too simplistic.