Our society seems to not have a clue about matters of sexual ethics. The news abounds with ironies. Some of them would be laughable if it were not for the fact that, sadly, real people are involved. (I’m not making these stories up!)
A top U. S. Army general expresses his dislike for homosexuals in the army. He finds them immoral and says that homosexuality is as bad as adultery. The homosexuals are indignant. The liberals are indignant. The politically correct are indignant, There’s a lot of tsk-tsk-ing from the news media. I guess it’s insulting to homosexuals to compare them with adulterers. I don’t hear anyone speaking up for the adulterers. I’d bet there are more of them in the army than homosexuals!
A pastor of an evangelical super church has a homosexual affair, repents, confesses, is reconciled with his wife and is removed from office. A pastor of a denominational church leaves his wife to live in a “permanent” homosexual relationship with another man, and is promoted to bishop.
Homosexuals are lobbying for laws to allow them to get married. Heterosexuals seem to be doing their best either to avoid getting married or to get out of marriage as soon as they can.
An NBA star talks teary-eyed on TV about his love for his mother, and how hard it was for her as a single mother to raise him. He is congratulated by all for helping his girlfriend to become a single mother for the second time.
Now I’ll probably be labeled as a prude by many for even mentioning these things. But it does seem as though sexual ethical standards have changed a bit over the past few years.
It’s not that there hasn’t been sexual misbehavior in past generations. There always has been. And I’m not holding myself and my generation as paragons of virtue. Like Jimmy Carter, “I’ve lusted in my heart” a few times (see Matthew 5:27, 28).
Only a few years ago any sexual behavior (whether heterosexual or homosexual) outside of marriage, was condemned. Many were quick to point out the hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and lack of forgiveness on the part of those doing the condemning.
But it seems today that while there are still plenty of old-fashioned hypocrites around, there is a new kind of hypocrisy and self-righteousness. Those condemned are no longer the persons performing illicit sexual acts, but those who find something wrong with these acts.
Often reference is made to Jesus’ actions toward those who were sexual offenders He is seen as accepting of all, and that acceptance somehow is interpreted as permission. But it wasn’t just plain acceptance and it definitely wasn’t permission. His actions were based on love. They were based on the forgiveness offered through His death on the cross.
To a woman who was the “town sinner” (Luke 7:37, 48, 50): “Your sins have been forgiven … Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
To the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:3, 11): “Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more.”
He doesn’t say “keep on sinning, so grace may abound” (Romans 6:1).
Christ gives us the ability to resist temptation and the forgiveness when we fall. I believe though that the first step in dealing with sexual temptation is to recognize it for what it is.
A young person in a group I was mentoring in the area of sexual behavior decided that when asked by outsiders what we were discussing, we should answer “polar bears.” I think that’s a pretty good metaphor. Polar bears are beautiful and appealing. They look warm and comforting. But they are fierce carnivores and (I’m told) can run up to 35 miles an hour on glare ice! They can’t be escaped! And they’ll consume you if you’re not careful!