1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.
This is a tough passage. What the apostle Paul would call sexual immorality and what we interpret it as being today are miles apart. In his day, sexual immorality could involve anything outside of marital sexuality. These days, mutual consensual sexuality, even among non-married folks, is not widely considered to be immoral.
This dilemma is not only affecting the church, it’s also shaping our society. Less people are getting married and there are more single mothers in our communities. What this shows me is that the men get to play the field, whereas the women are stuck with the consequences. In places like Africa, this also has fatal penalties where children are born with HIV. Sexual liberty may be what a free society wants, but in the end innocents suffer from boundless degeneracy.
Perhaps the Church has to refocus its attention on the values of long-term commitment that couples can share with one another. It’s not an easy path to take, but it does have a lot of benefits and blessings for the whole of society. Maybe we should emphasize Paul’s statements about our bodies belonging to God, not as a means of puritanically maintaining sexual morality, but as a positive way of maintaining long term partnerships. Everyone deserves to be loved, and if that love is sustained over a lifetime, it will become more meaningful and more effective in our communities and across society.
Questions for personal reflection
How would I define sexual immorality? How different is my definition from Paul’s?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we pray for the blessings of long term relationships in our communities. We ask that You bless those who have maintained their love across many years. Help them to encourage and inspire our younger generations to seek those same blessings in their own partnerships and lives. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment or ask questions about today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s image is a photograph of the latest edition of the Ministry and Liturgy magazine which is published by the Roman Catholic Church across America. The front cover has one of John’s Christmas drawings. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5334/9898277415_7a0441075b_b.jpg