September 2, 2015 by Stacy McDonald
I haven’t written on my blog in a long time. To be frank, I just got tired of dealing with the antagonists. But I felt compelled to write today. Marriage is so precious. It’s not supposed to be something you’re stuck in; it’s something you’re supposed to be thankful for—something you get to enjoy!
So there were two reasons I felt compelled to write. The first had to do with my absolute passion for marriage and the second you’ll discover in a minute.
I had a conversation recently with one of my married daughters about the beauty and passion of marital intimacy. She was expressing her thankfulness for having been brought up with a healthy view of sexuality.
A few years ago, during her engagement, this same daughter and I became especially close, as we discussed what a treasure she had coming! In the words of Cora Crawley, the marriage bed is “great fun!” I would not trade these conversations for the world!
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. (Hebrews 13:4)
Christian parents, above all others, should make sure they communicate to their children that marriage is a song filled with passion, security, excitement, satisfaction, oneness, and mystery! People who believe that the world’s version of sex is more exciting than God’s version are either deceived or they’ve been doing it wrong! And both distortions, put them at risk for temptation.
And, for the record, couples who reject the “cheap and empty” aren’t being prudish; they’ve just got something better! And they’re willing to do whatever it takes to protect it!
I love the way John Denver’s poetry captures some of the purity and passion of marital love in his classic hit, Annie’s Song:
You fill up my senses
Like a night in a forest
Like the mountains in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses
Come fill me again
Come let me love you
Let me give my life to you
Let me drown in your laughter
Let me die in your arms
Let me lay down beside you
Let me always be with you
Come let me love you
Come love me again
Come, my beloved, let us go forth to the field…there I will give you my love…which I have laid up for you… (Song of Solomon 7:11–13)
To Kill, Steal, and Destroy
But we have an Enemy. Perversion is nothing new. Satan, the Deceiver, will tempt us to justify and glamorize sin—to turn the beauty, passion, and purity of sexual intimacy into something hedonistic and crass—to toy with delusional fantasies of the “less-than.” He longs to rob God’s people of the miraculous—to con them into trading in their birthright for a stinkin’ mess of pottage.
Sex outside of marriage is like MSG (monosodium glutamate). This “flavor enhancing” chemical doesn’t actually flavor your food; it simply fools your body into thinking your food tastes good – all the while wreaking havoc on your health.
Satan does the same thing with sex outside of marriage. He fools us into thinking it’s going to be so good—that it will be better than what God has for us. When, in reality, it will destroy our lives, put us into bondage to the empty, and keep us from experiencing the miraculous.
And that’s not all! Read HERE to find out how sex outside of marriage literally changes our brains, confuses our hormones, and may even destroy our ability to bond! Continued porn use can even cause impotence!
Never before in our country’s history has the holiness and beauty of marriage been under such open attack. The family is under fire and our children are the prime targets.
Homosexuality, fornication, adultery, pornography, gender confusion, child molestation, abortion, STDs, …these tragic symptoms mark a culture that has turned its back on God. But it’s more than an attack on marriage; it’s an attack on godly seed! It’s strategy. Satan wants our children.
Treachery in Love
Still, our problems are nothing new. God’s people have a history of unfaithfulness that goes back many centuries.
“Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant.” (Malachi 2:14)
Covenant breaking is no small thing to God. You’re messing with a legacy. With the recent Ashley Madison expose,’ hundreds of men and women, along with their families and churches, have experienced the searing devastation of treachery and betrayal.
Those of you who have read my series on Grace Widows, know that I don’t take the sin of adultery lightly.
Adultery is unique in its cruelty. It is harshly personal. Its jagged blade violates the soul like a violent assault. Such a betrayal communicates rejection and treachery. It digs its claws into the heart, hoping to infect each wound with bitterness and hatred—even self hatred. The very one who has promised to love you until death, who has seen you at your most vulnerable moments, has forsaken his vows and embraced a stranger. What could be more cutting? – Grace Widows
But I think there is more we can learn from this, if we are restrained in how we respond.
Too often today, the news of a person’s infidelity barely earns a yawn. But, this time, the world is watching. Since several high-profile, conservative Christians were among those on the adulterous “hit list,” whether we like it or not, the topic of infidelity is out there.
But here’s the million dollar question: As Christians, how will we respond? That takes us to my second reason for writing this article.
The Christian Response
I believe it’s important to make it clear that adultery is a big, huge, stinking deal; while simultaneously shouting from the roof tops that God’s Grace is an even greater deal. Because you know what? Behind the keyboards of those “haters” out there who are calling for the spiritual lynching of the fallen, lie the hearts of fornicators, homosexuals, child molesters, adulterers, and people in bondage to porn. It’s the world. They’re watching.
They believe that Christians are hypocrites. They believe that Christians are stupid. They believe that Christians are fakes. They believe that deep down, behind their WWJD swag Christians are simply…haters…just like them. They don’t believe in the power of the Cross because too often nobody’s ever shown it to them.
The nations shall know that I am the Lord when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. Ezekiel 36:23
What have they seen from us? They’ve seen us tear each other apart. They’ve seen us doing an embarrassingly bad job of trying to be cool. They’ve seen us arguing over our favorite pet theological position. They’ve seen us slander each other.
And they’ve seen us play the fair-weather friend to our own brothers and sisters who we were oh-so-eager to throw under the bus once they fell from favor. “I was never friends with that guy.”
Then they heard our voices raised, “Crucify him!”
To be clear, I’m not talking about neglecting consequences. Consequences communicate love. Consequences are necessary. And sometimes, consequences are permanent in this life. They are an element of God’s grace, as they are often what He uses to sanctify us – to purge the dross. R.C. Sproul Jr. said it well in his public confession HERE.
For the believer, judgment is always a work of God’s grace, a goad to repentance…The grace of God’s judgment bore its fruit, and by His grace I repented of my sin. By His grace, I have also received His forgiveness, the outworking of His love. Prophetic providence had done its good office. Jesus died for this sin, but there are still earthly consequences.
So when I refer to God’s Grace in our response to the Ashley Madison scandal, I’m not talking about sweeping anything under the rug or ignoring consequences. I’m talking about the language we use and the attitude we have toward those who repent…those who humble themselves, who own their sin, who give it all up, who are contrite and remorseful with no expectations of getting off easy, and who don’t display any sort of demanding entitlement attitude toward those they’ve hurt.
I’m talking about looking into the eyes of a repentant brother or sister and seeing my own broken, weary, hopeful, sinful self looking back. My sins may not be the same as theirs, but I surely hope for the same mercy they hope for.
And, ladies, adultery and neglect are not sins limited to men. Women have also betrayed their husbands and rejected their vows. Wives have left their own children to chase after the deceptive and insatiable fiend, “self fulfillment.”
Other women may have been sucked into the Fifty Shades culture and believed the lie that an extramarital fling may spice things up. Ashley Madison was an equal opportunity supplier, after all. The adultery enabling company left a bloody trail of betrayed wives, as well as betrayed husbands, in its wake. The honor of marriage took another hit.
And God knows.
“Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel,” says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 3:20, NKJV)
In our culture, even in our Christian culture, the type of fidelity God requires is often considered old fashioned or weak (“A guy can look, can’t he?”). Men aren’t taught to guard their eyes (and hearts). They are told they should respect women, but then aren’t really taught how.
Boys are made to feel guilty for the God-given urges they begin to feel in their teens, but they aren’t taught and equipped how to restrain and funnel those desires toward a godly source. Imagine having to sneeze and someone tells you to simply hold your breath. Not helpful.
Women are often conditioned to believe that men are pigs who want only “one thing.” Funny thing is, we happen to like those pigs. As women, we start to believe that the “one thing” is dirty and evil, but it’s worth the risk, since the pigs are amazing. And we learn to use that “one thing” (or at least use it as a teaser) to draw them.
Wouldn’t it be better if Christians started to get on board with marriage—I mean really get on board with it! Defend its purity. Celebrate its beauty. Teach about it. Talk about it. And start having fun together as covenant couples! Yes, the marriage bed is intended to be full of imagination, exploration, and exciting, breathless, playing-in-the-rain fun!
If you need to read a book or find a counselor, do it! But stop misrepresenting godly sexuality by longing for the stinkin’ pottage! Stop treating it as something that shouldn’t happen, or that only happens out of necessity in the dark.
Christian parents, let your children know that you enjoy one another! Flirt! Smile! Kiss! Discover a reason to lock your bedroom door!
Stop behaving as though the grass is greener on the other side and start fertilizing your own yard (pun totally intended)!
Enjoy! You’re welcome.