Sexuality is both a human strength and a
human weakness. In the proper
context, it is a fulfilling and wonderful experience. Outside of that context, it can be a terribly destructive weapon that destroys lives and cripples self-esteem. Most of all, it is something rarely discussed from the pulpit much beyond a crowd-pleasing condemnation of the behavior, a criminalizing of something God ordained to be perfect and extraordinary. This perpetuates guilt, which holds God’s people in bondage because we don’t understand what the bible actually says about this stuff and, more importantly, what those words mean.
In terms of Christians and sex, there really is a simple truth:
some people are perfectly all right with it, with exploring
sexual relationships outside of marriage. Some people see it as
simple biology, no different from using the toilet or coughing.
Some people view it legalistically, like God will dock your pay
or give you a traffic ticket if you cave in to your human
desire. And some people simply want to please God and give God
an offering of themselves, giving not of their excess but of
their need. Whichever case best describes you, there are simple
truths God wants you to know. First: that He loves you,
regardless of the choices you make. Second: that He doesn’t want
you to be a slave to your own body, but to be in control of your
needs and desires.
Most Christians, regardless of their actual sexual conduct, lie about what they do. Truthfully, what you actually do sexually is nobody’s business, just be aware God know not only what you do but what you *want* to do, what you fantasize about doing. In that context, pretending to be a prude about human sexuality is an utter waste of time. You are either lying to your friends, lying to your family, or lying to yourself. Lying to God is just not possible. There simply is no “down low,” no closet with God. Sexuality can and often is a kind of “thorn of the flesh.” Try as we might to live lives pleasing to God, hovering just above our dubious piety are strong desires for morally questionable acts. But we can tell God. There’s no reason not to; He already knows. Pastors, teachers, and Christian sites tip-toeing around issues of human sexuality so as to not offend the pretend-pious Christian audience are doing absolutely nothing to help anyone. If you are a human being, you struggle, daily, with issues of sexuality. Not necessarily sexual identity, which is certainly part of the equation, but sexual propriety. We are all tempted, every one of us. Every day. Somebody we know. Somebody we see. Somebody on TV.
The hardest struggle: someone we are actually dating. The discipline required to keep yourself out of trouble when you’re a dating Christian is enormous. I don’t allow unescorted women in my home. She can come with a friend, she can bring her kid with her, but she can’t come over by herself. A recent girlfriend wouldn’t tell me her address, and she didn’t want to know mine. We just met and hung out, but the discipline of not even knowing where each other lived kept us out of danger. Sound extreme? Maybe. Had the relationship gone the distance, would we never have ever had sex? Nobody can say that with any truthfulness. The point is not whether or not to have sex, the point is what do you want out of your relationship with God? How do you integrate your unmarried sex life into that relationship?
Some people can do it. Some people have what I call a “refrigerator relationship” with God. You’ve got your freezer side and your refrigerator side, and some people keep their sexuality in the freezer, separated from their spirituality over in the fridge. And that works for them, I guess. But it’s bull. God knows what’s behind both doors. Sorting your life that way may assuage a guilty conscience, but it in no way pleases God. How can we please God if we’re lying to Him?
If you choose to engage in sex, tell Him. Own it. He already knows, anyway. Don’t shut God out, don’t stop living a spiritual life just because you’re getting some. Are you gay? Own it. If you can’t tell your mom, you can tell God. My biggest problem with the LGTB community is not their orientation but the pervasive, knuckleheaded idea that LGBT persons must choose between their sexuality and their walk with God. You can either have the banana or the bowling ball: one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Straight, gay or whatever: too many of us experience such guilt and shame that, like Adam and Eve in the Garden, we turn from God when God already knows whatever it is you are struggling with. Withdrawing from God because of whomever you’re rolling around with at night is the height of stupidity. You need God way more than you need LeRoy or Shanaynay or whoever. Hold tight to God, regardless of your circumstances and in spite of whatever you are struggling with.
This series of essays is not intended to give anyone the green light to do whatever, but to promote an open, frank, and, in the name of Jesus, honest dialogue about human sexuality and what the bible actually says about it, as opposed to what we think it says or whatever stuff we done heard someplace.