Thursday, March 5, 2015

Forging a Chain

Sin looks good in the beginning. But it ends up becoming a chain that enslaves us (John 8:34; Romans 6:16-20; Hebrews 2:14,15). This is true not only of obvious things like drugs and alcohol, but also of subtle sins like anger, jealousy, and pride. But I want to speak here of one of the obvious ones that our culture wants to paint as acceptable. That is sexual behavior. There is no greater conflict between the traditional Christian view of morality and our current culture's view. The contention of our culture is that sexual expression of almost any kind is good. It is the traditional Christian contention that sexual expression should take place within the lifelong commitment of marriage. Now there should be forgiveness for those who do not live up to this ideal. But that does not mean it is not the ideal. And it is my contention that sexual freedom is forging a chain to enslave us. Something I am personally aware of, having battled pornography since I have been old enough to battle pornography.

Sexuality can be a beautiful expression of a real commitment between a man and a woman. Or it can be a way to gratify your urges, using another person as an instrument. Marriage puts around sexual expression a hedge of agreed-upon commitment. But without that hedge, sexuality easily slips into pure selfishness. Nor does it help that we have make sex into an idol, the basic goal of life. And we have made being in love the ultimate experience that excuses any behavior. The pursuit of this leads to enslavement. Ironically, making sex into an idol works to destroy the committed relationship that is the legitimate expression of sexual desires. For no real relationship can produce this supposed ultimate experience. And it is difficult to maintain a committed relationship when constantly confronted with contrary ideas from the culture. Further, there is nothing that can ruin legitimate pleasures more than expecting them to be a panacea for all your problems. Only God can really take the central place in our lives. Anything else put there will ultimately destroy us. And our culture's trail of broken relationships, between men and women and between parents and children, bears witness of this.

Am I then in favor of censorship? I believe that trying to solve such things by passing laws is fairly futile. Laws are only useful when there is a general consensus as to what the standard should be. Now I do think there is a difference between speech which expresses an opinion and that which directly causes harm (such as slander or yelling fire in a crowded theater).   I would consider pornography to be in the second category.   However, we should not be trying to change laws but to change hearts. And we need to start by recognizing in our own mind that sexual license is not freedom; it is slavery. Then we need to help those caught in its grip to escape, rather than just condemning them. For only then can we break the chain. 

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