The bible is full of stories about sex and violence…really. It’s more than likely one of the reasons that we hear the same readings over and over again in church. My bible is over 1500 pages long and with that many pages you really shouldn’t be repeating readings as often as we do if the intent is to study the entire word of God. But most of it has to do with the subject matter. There are just whole sections of the bible that deal with things that are not ever mentioned in polite company. Things regarding genocide, infanticide, human sacrifice, murder, suicide, torture and rape fill the bible’s pages. And when it comes to sex there is no subject that is too controversial to be addressed: adultery, homosexuality, incest of every type imaginable, and even bestiality are discussed. If the intent of the word of God is to provide God’s children a framework for living our lives and ensuring our salvation, our Father (like any good parent) is going to tell it like it is. If you are trying to save someone’s life, you don’t hold back, especially when it comes to a subject like sex that has a potential to end in disaster.
Now, to be clear, God did not create sex to be disastrous. In reality like everything God creates, God’s intent is just the opposite. Sex was created as a good thing. One of God’s commands to his children is to ‘Go forth and multiple!’ So, it is certainly no surprise that the act of multiplication is associated with a high level of pleasure – right? Why bother if it’s going to just be a mundane, or worse yet, a painful, experience? (I’ll read a book or work in the garden at that point.) So here we have something that gives us all incredible pleasure and satisfaction, and God is commanding us to do it! In fact, there are all sorts of chemicals and hormones that he put racing through our bodies simply for that purpose. Remember those hormones?! (C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity covers the subject masterfully in Book 3, Chapter 5 – Click here
…The biological purpose of sex is children, just as the biological purpose of eating is to repair the body. Now if we eat whenever we feel inclined and just as much as we want, it is quite true that most of us will eat too much: but not terrifically too much. One man may eat enough for two, but he does not eat enough for ten. The appetite goes a little beyond its biological purpose, but not enormously. But if a healthy young man indulged his sexual appetite whenever he felt inclined, and if each act produced a baby, then in ten years he might easily populate a small village. This appetite is in ludicrous and preposterous excess of its function.
So since we are all still living within the confines of this earth with its paradox of good versus evil, sex like all of God’s creations, can have either good or bad consequences. It all depends on how you use it. Eat enough = good for you. Eat too much = not good for you. Exercise enough = good for you. Exercise excessively = not good for you. Think about anything in that way and you can see that it all has potentially a good or bad consequence. That is the true meaning of the very first commandment. ‘Thou shalt not have any gods before me.’ Much more than gods like Zeus, Buddha or Satan, more like becoming consumed with a thing or action, if fact making it our god, and therefore giving it our primary focus.
Back to the sex act itself. You might ask, how do we keep it from becoming our primary focus? I have to tell you that there were times in my life when the sex act was fairly high on my list of ‘things to do’. Even now if the circumstances are right, the moon is full and I’ve had the proper sensual stimulation it certainly can grab my attention! And of course, with society’s apparent fixation on sex there is no shortage of opportunities to indulge the mind and body accordingly. I would be a liar if I said that I have never committed adultery of the mind with all sorts of potential partners from Halle Barry to the check out girl at the local convenience store. Eeewwwwwww! (Hey, just keepin’ it real.)
So what is a Christian to do? How do we keep this potential downfall at bay? How do we keep legit in our marriages and permanent relationships? Some preachers talk about averting our eyes, or avoiding images or situations where we might be tempted to drift towards the nasty. Well, frankly that is a lot easier said than done. I mean testosterone (and estrogen) is a helluva drug, and as I said there is no shortage of opportunity if you are inclined. Then I read the Gospel story of the woman who was said to have married seven brothers, each man dying on their wedding night, obligating the brother next in line to marry this woman. (Imagine that!) The religious leaders at the time try to trick Jesus by asking him to whom of the brothers would the woman be married to when they all arrived in heaven. Jesus, brilliantly of course, reminds the questioner,
“You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven…” Matt 22:25-32
And since we are all God’s beloved children and He is our parent, we in turn are all brothers and sisters. Boom! That is the great revelation that I have now used in controlling that primal desire to populate a small village. If our true essence is not achieved until we are indeed in God’s presence in Heaven, then it means that we are truly created as siblings. We are all related as brothers and sisters, and that outside of our monogamous relationship (marriage hopefully) sex is not intended between siblings. So when I heard and understood that, Halle Barry immediately became my sister. And so did the rest of you women out there. You are all my sisters. And when I may feel the urge to adulter-ize or covet I quickly imagine that this is my sister in Christ and the urge ultimately passes. Try it the next time you may get the urge to wander: ‘Whoa! Wait a minute! That’s my sister/brother I’m thinking about in that way.’ You’ll see what I mean. It’s a changing of the mind and accepting our fraternal relationship that will work best, seeing each other as we truly are meant to be. And so sex begins to take on a very different and very simple place in our lives, a place reserved for our partner to whom we have become one flesh.
‘That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh…’Gen 2:24
Every other potential partner is your brother or sister…I hope that helps! (And mix in a cold shower occasionally where necessary.)