Posts Tagged ‘adultery’

I bet that gets some attention. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not an advocate for a relative attitude toward sex or promoting it as a gray area. I’m actually taking a similar “stand” (for want of a better word) that I took on submission to men and keeping silent.

I Thessalonians 4:3
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;. . .

I believe there is sexual immorality. I may not always know or agree with everyone on which acts are immoral and which are not, but it does exist.

The Greek word used in this context, porneias, is usually translated as fornication, but in detail, it can be translated or derived from pernaō “the selling off or surrendering of sexual purity” and if used figuratively, it could mean “to be unfaithful to Christ, while posing as His true follower . . . a type of idolatry.” There is loss and deception in all of these definitions.

Want more to think about? Here’s a website that lists a lot scripture verses about sexual immorality and the reader can vote: “helpful” or “not helpful.”

There is so much we cannot understand or manage in this world. We sin. We make mistakes. We choose badly. Since I trust in a God who is loving and sovereign and holy, I understand my human self is contradictory to the perfection of Spirit. And for now, there are some elements in scripture that I simply cannot do or embrace fully. I acknowledge their right to exist, but I’m not there.

And so, because of my struggle in that arena, I am equally hard pressed to condemn another person whose arena is sexual immorality, or the “surrendering of purity” (love that phrase). Is it a good thing? No. Does it and can it do great damage to marriages and relationships as well as the young or inexperienced? Yes. And certainly, it’s in my heart to teach my children to choose wisely. But an adult will choose as they will choose and my condemnation can do little to change their behaviors.

“For there is nothing hidden that shall not be disclosed, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come out into the open.” [Luke 8:17] And then understanding will be manifest and redemption available.

In my heart of hearts, I know I am only a hand-breadth away from repeating sexual sins: I am on the Internet every day and it would only take a single search on the word “sex” and I could be sucked into a vortex of desire and justification. I read hundreds of books and there are sections I must still skip over and with intention. There are movies I cannot watch. In my first marriage, the little demon won several interior battles, and I betrayed a vow. In my second and current marriage of 28 years, I am more vigilant, but no less susceptible.

When people enter into sexual immorality, it is indeed a surrender because we know. We know. We know. And yet we choose that act, that liaison, that sensation.

And if we don’t know or don’t suspect or believe we are not immoral, then God will reveal in good time. And God will present that revelation in a perfect way. Amen.

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John 8:4-5
“…and [they] said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”

This is a very familiar passage from scripture where Jesus thwarts the efforts of the teachers of the law and the Pharisees who want to trap him into speaking against and/or breaking the law. If they could catch him publicly, they could justify arresting him, etc.

They probably didn’t know that Jesus had already said and taught: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” [Matthew 5:17] But he was a teacher, a rabbi, who was teaching a “new way.”

Jesus never denied that the woman caught in adultery should be stoned. It was, indeed, the law. He was known for his words of mercy, grace and forgiveness and they expected him to “forgive her.” Instead, this became an excellent example of how the law can look through the lens of mercy. Jesus tells the crowd that the punishment can begin, but should begin with that person who is without sin, that person who has not broken any of the laws. There were none. The crowd dispersed and the letter of the law was not exacted. The woman was given a chance to change… Jesus did not release her without first telling her to “leave your life of sin.”

For me, one implication here is that her sin would eventually kill her if she persisted… the law would be fulfilled.

But the greater message is that many of us are still in a crowd looking, with righteous indignation, for sinners to get their just reward. We must be more careful; the fulfillment of the law may look different than we expect.

Jesus put sins and lawbreaking into one great big pile. One sin was no worse than another. Breaking a “little law” was no different than breaking a “big law.”

Today, help me see others with the eyes of Jesus. Help me think first before I act. Help me to consider more carefully the behavior of others and ask myself, “how would I hope to be treated” if I was doing the same thing? Help me temper my tendency to judge others with the mercy of Christ.

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