I’ve asserted for the past several days that broken sexuality came into our world as a result of the fall. While I certainly don’t intend to backpedal on that point, I think there is more to why sexuality is so broken in our culture than the fall itself. It’s a perpetuation of the prevailing attitudes that resulted in the fall; attitudes we are all prone to, whether we admit it or not.
We see something, we begin to desire it, and we think we’re entitled to have it.
Eve saw the “tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise” and she just had to eat its fruit. After all, why would God withhold something good from her?
This rationalization is ever-present when I’m being tempted, and it is exactly where we get ourselves into trouble when we talk about sexuality and sexual expression. In our culture (and even in the Church), committed relationships, marriage, and sex are not just good, they are often thought to be the be-all-and-end-all. It is suddenly necessary for good health to express yourself sexually.
Now, committed relationships, marriage and sex are all good and I believe they are gifts from God, but they are not gifts He gives to everyone. They’re not even gifts He gives everyone who desires them. He certainly hasn’t given them to me yet.
God must be withholding from me. Right? And since He’s withholding something good, I have the right to go outside of His design in order to satisfy my desires. Right?
First of all, God does not withhold good things “from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). Secondly, although I do not think I’m wrong to desire any of these things, my desires never trump God’s clearly declared will for me. First John 2:16 says, “All that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life – is not of the Father, but is of the world.” When what I desire becomes paramount to God’s will, it becomes lust, and lust and the things lust brings about are not of God, and are not good.
We don’t like to be dependent.
One thing that struck me about Matthew Vines’ testimony was that at the end, he expressed that gay people were not broken, and how hurtful it is to refer to them as such. On one hand, if he’s referring to Christians, he’s right: redeemed gay people should identify with Christ and the healing and restoration He brings, and other believers should encourage them in that identity.
On the other hand, we are all broken people living in a broken world. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and it is only because of Christ that we can have fellowship with Him at all. We are none of us perfect; none of us has arrived. While we can have tremendous victory in Christ, we still need, we still lack on this earth. We can’t deal with our own imperfections, let alone the imperfections of others. And I think that deep in our hearts, we all know this, even if we never say it out loud.
I think we need to start saying it out loud more: “Look, I struggle with ______________.” Humbly admit our imperfections, graciously accept the imperfections of others when they are confessed to us. If we don’t cultivate an atmosphere of openness and brokenness about sin (even “little” sins), we cultivate atmospheres of pride and no accountability for sin. That is how we start accepting sin as somehow less offensive to God, in our own lives, and in the lives of others.
Of course, some people in the Church do not want accountability – we’ve hardened ourselves to it. Being held accountable is now thought of as spiritual abuse, or an authoritarian church culture. (“Who are YOU to be all up in my business?”) We can’t make them accountable. I can’t make you accountable.
I can make myself accountable. I can seek out accountability. I can be honest about my struggles, allow people to lovingly correct me, pray over me, and encourage me.
This has been a challenging topic to think about and write, and I’m sure it’s a challenging topic to read. I wanted to say these things, want to be clear about where I stand. I want to be balanced: loving and truthful. If you’ve read all of it, I want to thank you for sticking with me on a controversial and emotional subject. I don’t normally write about things like this, because I’d rather let people think what they think what they want and I think what I want and we all just leave each other alone. Unfortunately, I can’t do that anymore. Gotta’ get real.