Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday March 24, 2014 Matthew 5:27-30

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”

We live in a sex-saturated culture.  Sex is everywhere.  For those drawn to it, it’s no longer necessary to go to the seedy part of town for peep shows or ask clerks for the brown paper covered magazines behind the counter.   Voyeuristic thrills can be had in the privacy of one’s own home without the risk being seen by friends, family members, or neighbors.  All of the societal barriers that may have deterred earlier generations from viewing pornography no longer exist.   The challenge is no longer how to discreetly find pornography.  It’s how to keep away from unwanted porn. The rules of the game have forever changed. Consequently, the average age of first exposure to porn is now 8—for boys and girls.
This week’s news brought us reports of Twitter feeds from Long Island teens “tweeting” naked, drunken “selfie” photos.  Sexting is common.  Friends now can be “friends with benefits”.   The web site Ashley Madison reminds those already married that “Life is short. Have an affair.”  Miley Cyrus brought “twerking” into our national conversation.   A Duke Freshman is enjoying the admiration of many for telling us how she’s funding her Duke education by making porno movies.  The freight train of human sexual expression is roaring ahead to previously unknown destinations.
The common denominator at the root of all of these behaviors is lust.   Lust is the intense, uncontrolled desire that distorts God’s beautiful design for human sexuality and corrupts sex into an idol.  No wonder Jesus uses vivid and extreme language to teach us about lust.   Jesus is teaching us that our thought life, attitudes, and motives regarding our sexuality matter a lot. Marriage isn’t just a matter of physical faithfulness alone. That’s religious legalism.  Faithfulness in marriage includes our eyes, mind, heart, and soul.
Later in Matthew chapter 19, when answering the Pharisees on a question of divorce, Jesus says, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,  and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”     Lust separates us not only from God and our spouse, it separate us from ourselves because it creates a double-minded person—outwardly moral or faithful and inwardly obsessed with self-gratification and using people as sexual objects; detached from the relational/sacrificial bond of intimate marriage. The Son of Man didn’t come to use people.  He came to serve them, just as we are called to serve them.  Lust makes us selfish and destroys the very shalom God intends to create-- completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.   No wonder Jesus warns us so strongly. --Linda Wajda

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