A Lost Culture’s Struggle with Sexual Misconduct
Watching the culture struggle with sexual misconduct has been interesting as the same people who have normalized pre-marital and extra-marital sex, who defend and protect pornography, and who cheer and idolize the LGBTQ lifestyle sex are now lamenting a natural result of sexually immoral behavior, sexual misconduct and harassment.
From a Biblical point of view the sexual misconduct seen in the world is not surprising. It is a natural result of denying and ignoring God’s clearly established parameters for sex. God has reserved all sexual activity for marriage (a marriage between one man and one woman for life). This is the clear design of God and He leaves no room for confusion. However, what is clear and simple is not so clear and simple when one looks at the state of many churches today. In the rush to love sinful people many churches have started to love the sin as well.
Confession on Imperfection
Before addressing this issue, I confess that I am far from perfect and have had my own struggles with sexual immorality. I have had to pull some logs from my eyes (Matthew 7:3-5) and have laid myself before the grace and mercy of God and have received forgiveness through the work of Jesus Christ. I continue to look into God’s mirror and ask him continually to keep my eyes log-free. It is also precisely because of my past failures and struggles with sexual immorality that I am qualified to speak to the challenges and struggles associated with this issue.
A Culture Painted in a Corner
Our culture has painted itself into a corner when it comes to dealing with and addressing sexual misconduct (the Bible uses the term sexual immorality). The culture is guilty of creating, normalizing, and encouraging the conditions that make sexual misconduct rampant. Here are just a few ways this has happened.
– Pre-marital and extra-marital sex has become routine and normal.
– Pornography is mainstream and readily available; indeed, it is nearly impossible to not be confronted with sexually graphic images as one sits down to watch TV any evening.
– Today’s cultural mantra regarding sex is “if you feel it, do it”. The entire Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) activist movement is based upon acting upon one’s sexual feelings and impulses. Furthermore, the culture proceeds to celebrate and revere those who act upon these impulses while simultaneously shaming anyone who does not join their celebration.
Hyper-Sexualized and Desensitized Results
The result is a hyper-sexualized and yet sexually desensitized culture. Our culture is so sexualized that nothing really seems out of bounds, nothing shocks us anymore, so we become desensitized. Hyper-sexualization combined with desensitization results in conditions that further allows sexual misconduct and immoral behavior to continue. Rather than fill this article with statistics, I will let you go see them for yourself:
This article from the Pew Research Center shows gay marriage is now approved by a majority of the culture and an alarming number of Christians. The approval of other LGBTQ sub-lifestyles is closely related.
Pornography use is reaching epidemic levels across the board. Visit Fight the New Drug for the facts and figures.
This article from the Barna Group shows what people consider to be sexually harassing behavior, the numbers of those who have experienced harassment, and the numbers who then report such violations.
The facts are also in the headlines. A man poses for a picture grabbing a sleeping woman’s breasts, a man states that he can grab a certain woman’s private body part without issue because of his position, a gay actor and mayor are accused of having sex with underaged boys, a doctor inappropriately gropes girls, a teach has sex with students, men (and women) in powerful positions sexually harass those under their influence…
Hyper sexualization results in men and women less capable of meaningful, committed relationships. Weakened relationships result in broken, split, and destroyed homes or non-existent marriages. Countless children are killed in the womb by abortion as a result of careless sex. Hyper sexualization results in woman who flaunt themselves and allow themselves to be treated as objects. Men, who see this hyper sexualized behavior and actions are less capable and less motivated to control harmful sexual impulses. The result is predictable and should be anything but surprising, yet many are surprised by how wide spread sexual immorality is.
How can a culture that laments the concept of judging or condemning of most immoral behavior turn around and judge and condemn another group of people acting upon their own feelings and impulses? One group, acting upon sexual impulses, is celebrated and protected. Another group, acting upon sexual impulses, is vilified and crushed.
Culture is struggling with this concept as they try to figure out why some men treat women as sexual objects while they celebrate woman behaving and dressing as sexual objects. It must be difficult for those who set and celebrate the conditions to then have to turn around and face the consequences of those conditions.
It is clear the culture has painted itself into a corner and it is not happy with the consequences. They like to celebrate immorality but they do not like the consequences of immorality. This predicament is based upon a weak foundation of moral standards.
The Failure of Shifting Moral Foundations
The world uses a moral foundation that shifts like sand with the tide. Just 30 years ago drug use was still unacceptable, pornography was considered perverse, gender fluidity was unthinkable, divorce was increasing but still viewed unfavorably, premarital sex was frowned up, and transgender behavior was considered a mental illness. Some of these were still considered unthinkable up until 10 years ago. Now, the shifting culture has eroded and destroyed this moral foundation. Now what is considered moral is what a loud micro-majority declares as moral while the masses flow with the tide of feelings and time.
Prior to the 1960s, even those who did not go to church or consider themselves Christian knew of and were influenced by moral foundations established in the Bible. Few, in American culture, could legitimately say they didn’t know what basic moral truth was. This does not mean they followed and applied moral truth, but they knew what it looked like.
Since prayer was kicked out of school and all of the continuing and associated efforts to drive God from public life, fewer and fewer people have an understanding of morality as prescribed by God. There is God’s built in sense of right and wrong but even this built in system is quickly crushed by an entertainment industry and a public school system at worst completely aligned against God or at minimum completely devoid of God.
Welcome to life without God and an unmovable moral standard. Welcome to the world of today.
Where is the Answer?
There is a clear solution; it requires rejecting the shifting and evolving moral foundation based upon the feelings of men and women and returning to the solid, shakable foundations from the One who is trustworthy and true.
Jesus provided us with a clear explanation of what a foundation looks like. In Matthew 7: 24-27 he declares “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock (a solid foundation). But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Emphasis added.
A solid foundation is one that is based upon listening to God and His teachings and following it. A weak foundation is one that does not follow or apply God teachings. So I ask, is your foundation strong?
The cultural floodwaters are rising and an ungodly wind is blowing. Will your house stand? Will your church stand? How will the nation fare? I declare without hesitation, based upon our current weak moral foundation, many houses, many churches, and the nation are on foundations that will result in catastrophic collapse.
The good news is that foundations can be repaired. From a physical point of view fixing a foundation can be very difficult. It’s the same for repairing our cultures foundation…it requires an extensive and difficult repair because of its deteriorated state.
Repairing the Foundation
Repairing our cultural foundation requires a return to God and His Truth. Yes, this is going to be an extensive and difficult fix because most of the culture is unaware of or has completed rejected the basis of repair.
Let’s look at the standard of what a strong foundation is based. All emphasis is added.
Genesis 1: 27 – “God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Leviticus 18:22 “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.”
Deuteronomy 22:5: “A woman must not put on men’s clothing, and a man must not wear women’s clothing. Anyone who does this is detestable in the sight of the Lord your God.”
Deuteronomy 23:18 “When you are bringing an offering to fulfill a vow, you must not bring to the house of the Lord your God any offering from the earnings of a prostitute, whether a man or a woman, for both are detestable to the Lord your God.”
Matthew 5: 27-28 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Mark 10: 6-9 “But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
Romans 13:13 “Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate…in sexual promiscuity and immoral living….”
1 Corinthians 6:18 “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.”
1 Thessalonians 4:3 “God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.”
Hebrews 13:4 “Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.”
This foundation is radically different than the current state of our culture’s foundation. Is the fix worth the effort? What is the risk of not fixing the current foundation.
Romans 1: 24-27 “So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.”
“That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
Ephesians 4:19 “They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.”
Galatians 5: 19-21 “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
1 Timothy 1: 8-11 “We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.
Revelation 21:8 “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Revelation 22:15 “Outside the city (heaven) are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.”
I hope you would agree, the risk of not repairing the foundation is unacceptable. To not fix the foundation is, in effect, ensuring the eternal separation of countless people from God for eternity. (See this article on the idea of Are We Loving People to Hell?)
Let the Repairs Begin
In Your Life: Change always starts with your life and immediate sphere of influence.
– Commit to ensuring your life is on a solid foundation.
– Look into God’s mirror and ask Him to “remove the logs out of your eyes”. Ask that God reveal and remove all sexual immorality from your life.
– Evaluate personal thoughts and beliefs that are out of alignment with God’s standard and commit to his teachings and reject the worlds deceptive influence.
– Filter what images you allow into your eyes through TV, movies, books, beaches, water parks, walking down the street, etc.
– Commit to not being the source of downfall to those who struggle with sexual impulses.
– Ladies this includes wearing self-respecting clothing that forces the focus on your character and not other places.
In Church: Pastors, you absolutely must address what sin looks like in day-to-day life so people can come to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and seek forgiveness and healing. Love the sinner but hate the sin.
– Preach on sexual immorality using scripture as the basis.
– Offer discipleship courses such as Every Man’s Battle or a myriad of other options.
– Make sure sexual issues are part of recovery programs.
– Put into all possible protections in place to prevent sexual misconduct in your ministries.
On the job:
– Demonstrates what a proper, sexually pure life looks life in action and deed.
– Lovingly correct and confront those who bring in or allow sexually improper material, behaviors or actions.
– Report conditions that could lead to a sexually charged environment through available channels.
– Stand by and support those who have been the target or victim of sexual harassment. Encourage them to report improper behavior.
– If you are the boss or owner, demand a job environment absent of sexually immoral conditions.
In legislation and policy:
– Demand that laws and policies stand and support biblical morality rather than destroy and redefine these standards.
— Remember, every law is an effort to legislate morality; differences are what is the focus and emphasis.
– Hold those in office accountable for improper behavior.
The Most Important Point
The Good News is that forgiveness and healing for sexually immoral behavior, like every other sin, is available through Jesus Christ.
Confess: First, admit and confess that you have fallen short of God’s standard.
Repent: Turn away from and condemn the actions and behaviors that caused you to fall.
Accept Jesus’ Payment: Jesus already paid the price for your sins on the cross. You have to accept this fact; you did not earn or deserve it but it was done anyway. In this way, Jesus is your Savior. Accept and allow Jesus to be your Savior.
Accept Jesus as Lord: Place Jesus into the position as Lord of your life; allow His to reign and live in your life every day. The easiest way to stay out of sin is to not get into sin. Placing Jesus Christ as Lord of your life is the starting point.
Strive to Live a Life Pleasing to God: This should be our ultimate, daily goal.