The evangelical army struck back again this past weekend after the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal across the country by a 5-4 majority. Evangelical leaders from Russell Moore to Albert Mohler to Matt Chandler to Randy Alcorn signed a statement, entitled “Here We Stand,” standing against the SCOTUS decision.
I’ll state this: homosexuality is a sin, as the Bible says. But my ultimate issue is not that the SCOTUS made same-sex marriage legal. My problem is that we in the church, in the Christian culture, have made same-sex marriage the primary target of our “sexual immorality radar” when there is a much bigger problem at hand. It’s a problem that, in my belief, each Christian has dealt with in one way or another at some point in their life.
Lust. Sexual lust. Sexual temptation.
How many Christians look at pornography regularly? How many Christians lust after their co-workers regularly? How many Christians have affairs, emotionally or physically? How many Christians fantasize about sexual sin? How many Christians don’t treat their wives the way they should?
I think marriage is not the cornerstone of humanity that many Christians think that it is. The real cornerstone of humanity is an individual relationship, or lack thereof, with Jesus. Basically, whether people are trusting in Jesus or not. And daily, the Christians of this world fail in trusting Jesus with their sexuality.
I know I do. I know that I lust after women every day. I know that I’m tempted sexually every day, and often I think thoughts I should not. There have been times in the past I’ve engaged in behaviors that were sinful and inappropriate. I’m still a virgin, by God’s grace, but there were a couple times I could have lost that. Praise the Lord that I avoided that. But the fact remains that I have sinned sexually before and will continue to.
I am not alone. Nearly daily we can read of people who have:
- cheated on their wives/husbands,
- been involved in child pornography,
- been arrested for sexual harassment and
- conceived children out-of-wedlock.
And Christians are not free from those things. Christians are right there in the thick of it all.
However, when it comes to sex and sexual sin, the church in general shies away from talking about things like this in a real way. We’ll do one of two things: we’ll skirt around the issue, or we’ll go all-out condemnation. We rarely sit down and have an honest and real conversation about where we are in our sexual lives, married or not married.
It’s uncomfortable to have those conversations, but it’s super necessary. God gave us the church, the body of Christ, to encourage, challenge and build up one another as fellow believers in Jesus. God didn’t give us the church so we could have an army to attack the issues of the culture. God gave us the church so we could have an army to attack the sin in each other’s lives.
And if we spend all of our time repeating the same mantra of “the world is doing things the wrong way,” we’ll miss the fact that we as Christians are doing things the wrong way.
So please, church, as you rant and rave and post and tweet about the decision, please, for the love of God, ask yourself where you stand in regards to your sexuality and what God’s standard is. Odds are, you’re falling short in some way. I mean, we’re humans, we’re bound to fall short. Three simple steps towards growing:
Recognize the forgiveness and grace of the Gospel. God doesn’t leave us hopeless in our sin. He gives us grace so that we’re not defined by our mistakes or our failures. He doesn’t hold our sin against us.
Examine your thought life and your actions and see where you’re falling short. This will be hard and will take time, but it’s the first step towards growing in godliness.
Share where you are with a brother/sister in Christ and pray together for strength and victory. This is why we’re a church. This is why we have brothers and sisters in Christ, to fight sin, to pursue Christ, to encourage one another.
Don’t let this historical event be yet another occasion for you to trumpet how sinful the world is. Let it be a reminder that you as well are sinful and missing out on the best God has for you in your sexual lives.
Let us not be like the Pharisees who cast the first stone without examining ourselves first. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 shows us the way:
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.