Carty’s Contemporary Classics 35: Sometimes It’s Sin, Sometimes It’s Not or Will I Burn If I Get the Hots?

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Let’s start out with some stats:

  • On a per capita basis, the group that’s leading in increased incidents of sexually transmitted disease is the 10 to 14-year-old age group.
  • In 1970, less than 5% of all 15-year-old girls had had sex. By 1988 that number rose to 25%. Current estimates say that 20% of our high schoolers graduate with their virginity.
  • Of those who have had sex, 30% of them have it once and then don’t do it again. Another 30% have had four partners or more by the time they finish high school.
  • The number one group for sexually transmitted disease (which is three times higher than the general population) are 16 to 20-year-olds.
  • 2/3 of all sexually transmitted disease is in 25-year-olds or younger.
  • Currently one in seven teenagers have a sexually transmitted disease of some kind.
  • Just 20 years ago, there were just four primary diseases out there, now there are 32.
  • One in four Americans will have a sexually transmitted disease by the time they are 55.
  • 14% of all AIDS cases were contracted while the patient was a teenager.
  • One in ever 500 college students have tested HIV positive.
  • It wasn’t that long ago that they said secondary smoke wouldn’t hurt you, and at the same time they told us that we could not get AIDS heterosexually. Then they told us that we cannot get it through saliva, yet OSHA requires that nurses wear a double gown, double gloves, gauze mask, and plastic shield whenever they are handling AIDS suspected saliva samples.
  • Married partners using condoms every time they have sex, where one of them is HIV positive – both will be infected within 18 months.
  • Across America, more affairs take place at age 50, than at any other age in marriage.
  • The number one problem facing retirement communities in the U.S. is infidelity.

The bottom line is that, whether you’re young, middle aged or old, single, married or about to get married, one question seems to abound when it comes to sex, kissing, hugging, flirting and innuendo:  “How far is too far?”

So, let’s start with Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians 6:12:

“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say – but not everything is beneficial.  ‘I have the right to do anything’ – but I will not be mastered by anything.”

With this in mind, think about when you were young (four-years-old or so) and your parents wouldn’t let you run into traffic. You thought they were trying to spoil your fun, but really they simply didn’t want you to get hurt.

Likewise, there are a few “don’ts” in the Bible.

One of them is “Don’t murder”. If I shoot and murder a guy, I’m a murderer. No two ways about it. Now, if I shoot and murder the same guy at the exact same time another person aims and shoots the same guy (unlikely situation, but follow me), then we are both murderers. It doesn’t matter how much money or influence each of us may have, doesn’t matter how old or young we may be, or who our families are… we’re both murderers.

Other “don’ts” include: don’t steal, don’t lie, and don’t go after your neighbor’s stuff. This all coincides with our actual laws and cultural laws today.

But, here’s another “don’t” in the Bible: Don’t have sex with somebody that you’re not married to. Now, unlike murder, this one isn’t against the law – in fact it’s widely considered a badge of honor if you do it in our culture. The Bible doesn’t say, “if you’ve dated the person 20 times, or if you really love each other, or if you’re very mature…” If the Word of God is important to you, none of these rationale mean anything. The Bible is very clear: don’t do it.

Yet, everyone asks, at some point in their lives, “How far can I go before it becomes sin?”

So, point number one is: It all depends on how you ask. If you ask from the positive – “God, what’s going to glorify You in this relationship tonight?” you will hear His voice and guidance. On the contrary, if you ask from the negative – “God, how bad can I be and still be okay?” your motive is revealed as self-serving, God’s not in it and you won’t hear from Him. Therefore, always ask wanting to know God’s heart and God’s will, not to justify your own agenda.

Point number two points to the verse we looked at earlier: 1 Corinthians 6:12. There are some sins that are absolute: don’t have sex with someone you’re not married to. That’s it. Absolute. If the Bible says I can’t do it, then I can’t do it. But Paul then says that if the Bible doesn’t mention it, I can do it – unless it takes mastery over me. Then it’s off limits. There can only be one slave/one master, and I need to be enslaved to God’s will. I can’t also be enslaved to my desire for sex, making out, heavy petting, or whatever else may enslave me. So questions like whether or not to kiss, how long to kiss, how to kiss, the same for hugging, hand holding, or anything else – there’s no hard and fast rule, but when it becomes a master over you, you’ve gone too far. You’ll know it when you experience it, and it’s different for different people. But if it masters you, it’s a sin because God is no longer mastering your thoughts, intentions and actions.

So, if you’re dating, save yourself a ton of grief. If all you have going for you is a physical relationship, bail right away. Because if making out, sex and other things physical are at the foundation of your relationship, you will get hurt down the line.

Thirdly, you may have to start from the vantage point of your weaker brother or sister – AND BE CONTENT WITH THAT! In other words, you may have to limit your behavior to what would be appropriate for your weaker brother or sister in Christ. If an R-rated movie would cause them to stumble, you need to honor that. If it’s okay for you to drink alcohol, but not for them, then you need to abstain. And, even in the confines of a married couple’s bedroom, if there are things that make one spouse uncomfortable, then the other spouse should not force that behavior or action upon them. It’s the world that says “Lighten up!” but it’s the Bible that instructs us to adjust our behavior for our brother or sister and be content.

Finally, when you touch a person, who is not your spouse, with the intent to arouse them as opposed to simply express Godly affection, it just became sin. Not when that touch evolves into actual intercourse and an affair, but way back in the beginning when you flirted the first time.

So, to sum up, here are the four principles to dating:

  1. Ask from a positive.
  2. If it masters you, it’s a sin.
  3. You may have to start from the vantage point of your weaker brother or sister – AND BE CONTENT.
  4. When you touch someone with the intent to arouse, it just became sin.

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