“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?”
—1 Corinthians 6: 18-19
The Corinthians were notorious for letting it all hang out. The Apostle Paul, as he is prone to do when things are serious, makes a list of sinful practices for us to avoid or, as the opening verse states, to “flee from”. The kinds of sexual practices in Paulʼs list include fornication, adultery, homosexuality and prostitution.
If you read Paulʼs letter, carefully, there is no one sexual sin, no one target group. For example, earlier, in chapter 5 of the same letter, Paul has to address a family case of incest between a son and a stepmother. Of course, this means, especially with regard to sexual sins, that I must always begin first with the man in the mirror — with my own family and home, in my own heart, gazing at my own reflection.
Because of the omnipresence of modern media, we rarely stare at our own reflection too long — unless we are addicted to selfies. We tend to see other faces splayed across the media. Often the souls we see on the screens and pictures are so far removed from our lives — geographically and culturally — it is just too easy to target those guys, and to categorize and project what should be reserved for our own self-reflection upon those other persons. In other words, it is merely automatic to blame the government, blame the radicals, blame the rich, blame the bureaucrats, blame, blame, blame!
Because sexual life, both, good and bad, is so entrenched in our nature, it is second nature to target other causes — out there — for whatever sexual tendencies and drives we all experience. Often, all we see in the news is a sea of writhing placards and jostling multicoloured arms and legs. The mob is always simmering if the protest is addressing sexual activity, because sex is so intrinsic to our nature. The atmosphere is so on fire, we feel we will be attacked if we blow our nose the wrong way.
I am not blaming our sins on the media, but I do know that the media is a bigger distraction than ever to taking a long hard look into my own reflection and my own soul.
I know that many will adamantly disagree with me for even mentioning the sexual sins that we practice and for even attaching the word sin to our intrinsic nature. Still, my prayer, regardless how you take this message, is that by Christʼs grace, which graces all graces, you and I would each be able to rediscover a clear, undistracted window into our own souls, so that we could each see our own selves as truly as God sees each one of us.
Ron Benty is the pastor of the Wynndel Community Church.