Sex, Shame, and Consequence

wordswag_1512043952062One of my heroes was dismissed from his position at Minnesota Public Radio yesterday. Garrison Keillor, 75, was released from the Prairie Home Companion after an accusation of sexual misconduct. I admit that this one  really got to me, left me confused, and a little angry.  Reading reports, a lot of us are confused by the revelations of sexual abuse, misconduct, and depravity in high places. A correction in relationships in the workplace is long overdue and I am glad to see men who abuse women held accountable.  It greatly concerns me that processes that allow for reflection, evaluation, and a just response seem to be pushed aside in the race to ‘get it right.’

Thinking about this has provoked some thoughts, and you may agree or disagree, which is totally fine with me. But, I cannot ignore this issue that has filled our news for weeks now.

My first thought is that America is reaping the harvest of the sexual revolution of the last generation. It is almost absurd that our culture would laud Hugh Hefner, a man who openly flaunted every sexual boundary, who ‘used’ young women throughout his life, as a pioneer and liberator. Who knows how many marriages failed because of his terrible example? Who knows how many women weep alone because he made the idea of a sexual ‘playmate’ one that many considered acceptable?  Hef discarded the idea of monogamy and marriage as a relic of another time.  As contraceptives made it possible to separate sex and babies, he gave us a kind of sexual model that, in my opinion, broke down all the barriers that kept the powerful impulses of sexuality in check.

Today, most people are convinced that any rules about sex between consenting adults are just silly.

  • Teens may be given a pep talk about ‘waiting,’ but then, with a knowing wink, we teach them how to avoid pregnancies and disease. There is no real expectation of discipline or restraint.
  • Porn has flooded our culture. Christians and non-Christians alike are affected. It is an common confession that I hear and it is not a harmless diversion. Porn is deadly to relationships, addictive, and destroys millions from the inside out.  I am shocked that parents put a smartphone connected to the Internet in the hands of their kids without filters, without accountability. We all know that you don’t have to go looking for very long to find all kinds of perversion.  And, a child can never ‘unsee’ an image once it is there.
  • Despite the Scripture’s unambiguous teaching that sex is to be enjoyed exclusively within the covenant of marriage, just about every couple that I marry these days have been sleeping together, even living together, with no real sense that they are violating the plan of God for their lives.

My second thought is that we need to remember that human sexuality is a gift of God, given to us to bond us, to make families, and to provide us with intimacy. If your Christianity includes the idea that that ‘sex is dirty and to be avoided at all costs’ you have reached a mistaken conclusion. What God does is to give us boundaries for sexual enjoyment so that the gift does not enslave, demean, or destroy – as we are seeing so much in our media reports right now.

The ugly side of human sexuality is what it does to people when misused.
Ask any woman was sexually abused what violation that has done to her sense of worth.
Ask any man who was molested how deep the pain goes even decades after the incident.
Ask a person who has become a slave to porn addiction about the shame he feels after yet another trip through the dark side of the Internet.
Ask a wife who is married to a man who sees her only as a toy for his pleasure how she feels about herself or her marriage.

My third thought is a reminder – God teaches us that sex is not just ‘skin on skin.’ It is spiritual as well as physical. One of the great mysteries in our sexuality is how much it affects our identity, our worth, our health. Consider this wisdom. “You say, “I am allowed to do anything”-but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. …  But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. … Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:12-21, NLT)

Are you struggling with guilt or shame over your sexuality, Christian?
Have you been abused? Share that with a trusted counselor and find freedom.
Have you done things in the past that still make you ashamed?
Know that the Cross is the place of healing, that God frees us from our guilt. Bring your sexuality to Christ. Tell him your struggles. Pray about the ways you are tempted, the hurts that have been visited on you by others in past, the sins that still sting your conscience. Humble yourself before Him and accept the wisdom of His Word, regardless of the mockery of the world we live in.   Thank Him for the gift of your sexuality!

And, Christian, let’s recover what the Bible teaches about purity. Purity is beautiful, makes us whole, and frees us to be all God made us to be. Here is a word from the Word – “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, NLT)

God help us to point the way to sexual sanity, to wholeness, to recovery of love and trust in our relationships.


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