We are so glad you have joined us for some insightful, Holy Spirit inspired latest teaching from Pastor Fred Aguilar on marriage.....

Pastor Fred on "No-Fault Divorce".....04/2010

On questions relating to the Bible's treatment of family and morals, one might expect assurance, if not rigidity, from Evangelical Christianity. So, it may surprise many to learn how "alive" the topic of divorce remains in Evangelical circles. Last month, the cover story of the monthly Christianity Today was titled "When to Separate What God has joined: A Closer Reading on the Bible on Divorce." The heated controversy provoked by the story showed how Biblically flexible some Evangelicals can be - especially when God's word seems at odds not just with modern American behavior, but also with simple human kindness.

As the article's author, the British Evangelical scholar David Instone-Brewer, points out, for most of 2,000 years Christians have viewed divorce through two scriptural citations. In Matthew, the Pharisees ask Christ, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?" Jesus refers to the Old Testament and then replies, "Whoever divorces a wife, except for sexual indecency, commits adultery." The apostle Paul adds in the book First Corinthians that a Christian is "not bound" to a non-Christian spouse who abandons him. Simple, right?

Instone-Brewer radically reinterprets the first passage using, of all things, quotation marks. The Greek of the New Testament didn't always contain them, and scholars agree that sometimes they must be added in to make sense of it. Instone-Brewer, an expert in Jewish thought during Jesus’ era, writes that Christ's interlocutors were not asking him whether there was any cause at all for divorce, but whether he supported something called "any-cause" divorce, a term a little bit like "no-fault" that allowed husbands to divorce wives for any reason at all. Instone-Brewer claims Jesus’ "no" was a response to this idea, and that his "except for sexual indecency" condition was not a statement of the sole exemption from God's blanket prohibition, but merely Christ's reiteration of one of several divorce permissions in the Old Testament - one he felt the "any-time" advocates had exaggerated. Finally, Instone-Brewer tallies four grounds for divorce he finds affirmed in both Old and New Testaments: adultery, emotional and sexual neglect, abandonment (by anyone) and abuse.

Christianity Today has written previously on divorce, often bemoaning how easy it is in today's America. However, the Instone-Brewer essay appeared to be its editors' attempt to offer Evangelicals an escape from a classic dilemma. The "plain sense" of Jesus’ words without quotes seems clear enough, but also inhumane: how could a loving God forbid divorce, even by omission, in cases of wife-beating, or of abandonment by a Christian spouse?

Each branch of Christianity deals with divorce in its own way: Catholicism bans it entirely, but many divorced and remarried couples nonetheless find that their conscience permits them to take Communion. Liberal Protestantism accepted divorce some decades ago without much engagement of the scriptural issue. Evangelicals define themselves as being tightly bound by scripture. But besides the humanitarian problem, there are some uncomfortable facts on the ground: The divorce rate among Evangelicals, which first became news after polls released by the Barna Research Group in 2001, has been as high or higher than the national average.

The Evangelical movement has actually made tremendous accommodations given the strictures it lives under. Ministries for the newly divorced are common at mega churches; and on the historically less-rigid Pentecostal side of the spectrum, celebrity preachers Juanita Bynum and Paula White both recently announced on Yahoo and Goolge their intention to divorce. Most experts interviewed for this story attested that whereas 30 years ago, a pastor might well order a battered woman home to return to her husband, which is rare today.

More conservative Evangelicals remain uneasy about divorce. If a split itself is inescapable, notes Christianity Today editor Andy Crouch, "remarriage is where the rubber meets the road," and many remarried couples find themselves denied church membership says Russel Moore, dean of the 16.3 million-member Southern Baptist Convention's influential Southern Seminary, "We teach our future pastors that marriage is a lifelong, one-flesh union." Any woman in an abusive marriage should "leave that situation," he acknowledges, and a "majority" probably accept remarriage. Asked if he does, Moore demurred: "Let me think about that for a little bit. I could answer in a way that would be very easily misunderstood."

Evangelical conflict on the topic was obvious in reader response to the Instone Brewer essay. Initially the mail was heavily negative. The most stinging broadside was a column by John Piper, a respected theological conservative, that called the essay not just weak but "tragic." The magazine's editor in chief, David Neff, felt the need to explain online that "Instone-Brewer's article did not... give people carte blanche on divorce." The mail eventually leveled off at 60% negative to 40% positive.

Still, the controversy suggests that even the country's most rule-bound Christians will search for a fresh understanding of scripture when it seems unjust to them. The implications? Flexibility on divorce may mean that evangelicals could also rethink their position on such things as gay marriage, as a generation of Christians far more accepting of homosexuality begins to move into power. (The ever-active Barna folks have found that 57% of "born-again" Christians age 16-29 criticize their own church for being "anti-homosexual.") It could also give heart to a certain twice-divorced former New York mayor who is running for President and seeking the conservative vote. But that may be pushing things a bit.

In September of 2004 by the Barna Group in an article entitled Born Again Christians Just As Likely to Divorce As Are Non-Christians? In 2004, people that claimed to know Christ as Lord and Savior don’t do any better at staying married than non-believers.

Biblical teaching, or do we simply ignore it? The Bible clearly teaches us that remarriage while a previous spouse remains alive is adultery (See Luke 16:18; Mark 10:3-12; Rom. 7:3; I Cor. 7:39). But these teachings, reflecting our covenants with our mates, are roundly ignored in favor of our confusion over the “exception clauses” in Matthew. How is the ole “exception clause” strategy working in the Evangelical Church? The answer is a 39% divorce rate, two percentage points above the atheist and the agnostics. Christian, if that doesn’t boil your blood, check for a pulse.

 

Jeremiah 3:14-15 “Return, O backsliding children,” says the LORD; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”

 Jeremiah 3:8 “Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce.

 Jeremiah 3:12-13 “Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: ‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not remain angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God, and have scattered your charms to alien deities under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the LORD.”

 It is very important that we see the clear image of God so that we can have the Divine Nature of God embroidered within us in our greatest place of pain which is also His greatest place of pain. Jeremiah 3 is full of the revelation of the heart of God and His incredible pain over the harlotry of His people. He says He divorces Israel; then He says, “Return, backsliding Israel!” Then even though divorced, He says to Israel, “I am married to you!” Is God psycho??? No, He has to separate His presence from His people but HIS HEART NEVER SEPARATES from His people!! Even in divorce He says He hates it! He never hardens His heart in the face of all the incredible pain He is in. Here is the GOLD that is in God Himself. What is God looking for in the Bride He wants to give to His Son? He is looking for His own Divine Nature in us.

“Hey Jesus... this woman of yours is too wacked out.  You deserve better than this.  She is breaking the covenant right and left. There isn't one point where she has kept the oath she made. She's already got the divorce papers ready and has a ring from that dude down the street, and it is one hunk of a diamond.  I've even heard she is already stepping out on him too, but he doesn't know it yet. Jesus, I know this really is hurting you a lot. I can't even imagine but the best thing to do is forget about her.  It is over with. You need to get totally over her.  There are so many other women out there that are waiting for a faithful man like you. Oh, I'm sorry to be the first to tell you this; I heard she is pregnant from the dude with the diamond.  I am just saying this is way too much of a cross for you to bear and I just don't think God wants you tied to her with the way she is betraying you.  You know she actually deserves a death sentence!”

“Peter, Shut up! Your ways are not My Ways and your thoughts are not My Thoughts.  Right now Satan is trying to use you to try to keep Me from what I know to be the reality of My purpose.  You have a man-centered opinion and I have My Father's Glory on My Mind.  My Father has shown me fully how to handle this matter and I will not betray His Heart or His Character.  Listen well, I made a blood covenant with My Bride and no matter what she does, I am faithful to My Word.  Nothing she can do will change that.  I covenanted to her until death do we part.  Only her death could eternally separate her from me if she doesn't return to Me.  Until then I stand true and will love her and say to her "Return to me for I am married to you.”  Even if she has another's child and marries him My Father calls it adultery. You see My Father already showed me how He handled this. There was a time hundreds of years ago His chosen people so betrayed his love, they went out and had sexual affairs all over the place. They even married the daughters of those who served foreign gods. It became so bad that they even sacrificed their children to these foreign gods.  My Father’s Heart was broken and the pain was so severe.  But My Father had made covenant with His people and His love endured all pain and suffering.  He chose some Holy men named Hosea, Jeremiah, Malachi and a few more to pour out His Heart through to show us the depth of His response to His people.” 

“Jeremiah learned from Hosea what the Bridal love of God is all about.  Then Jeremiah went through the wringer with God.  Jeremiah was My Father's confidant and he told us about the pain and the agony of the Father's Heart.  Then Jeremiah would tell about his own pain and agony.  The situation was just as bad as it gets.  Of course Jeremiah was told by My Father to write it all down so we can always have the record of what My Father expressed.  It is all divided into chapters and the third chapter of Jeremiah's journal tells it all.  In the first sentence My Father says back in the Law of Moses there is a saying that if a man divorces his wife and puts her away and she goes to another and He doesn't like her either and put's her away that it would be an abomination for the first husband to take her back. Then My Father says what He is going to repeat time and time again. “Even though this is an abomination, I am willing to take on this abomination out of My great love and covenant with you and I say, return to Me for I am married to you!”  Eight verses later it tells how My Father had to even give a certificate of divorce to Israel and put her away BUT three verses later My Father pours out His Heart to Israel and says, “Return to Me for I am married to you.”  Peter, you see, even with the divorce it was never a permanent matter of cutting off the one He loved and covenanted with forever.  He was not remarrying another and always open and calling for her to return. Even with what is called a divorce Father held the stance that they were still married. He was willing to not harden His Heart and He doesn't want us to harden our Hearts either. Peter, I am following My Father's example and My people are to follow My example.” (Jeremiah 3)

In the case of so-called "no-fault" divorce, however, legislators and governors should have been able to know a disaster when they saw one, but they didn't. State after state began adopting "no-fault" measures in answer to demands that divorce be made "more humane."

By the middle of the 1970s, the battle was largely over. States adopted no-fault divorce laws citing various rationales, including the unclogging of courts burdened with contested divorce proceedings. No-fault laws enabled one spouse to seek a divorce, acting unilaterally. These statutes only required that one spouse declare the marriage irretrievably broken.

Previous to this, divorce was considered a matter of far greater social importance and common concern. Marriage was considered the bedrock institution of society and divorce was seen as a subversion of society, as well as the breakup of a marriage. Under this system, divorces required legal cause -- some ground recognized in law as constituting an adequate reason for the dissolution of a marriage. A spouse could fight the divorce and contest the grounds offered by the spouse who sued for divorce.

Under no-fault divorce, no ground is necessary. By definition, there is no fault ascribed to either spouse -- fault is no longer considered to be of legal or societal importance.

Demanded by those who claimed that no-fault divorce would be more humane, the laws actually allowed two very different (but entirely foreseeable) results, and both are disastrous. The first is the fact that no-fault divorce has allowed millions of men to abandon their families and leave their children and former wives to poverty. The statistics are clear enough -- men who divorce their wives and no longer live with their children generally improve their standard of living over the next few years. The family left behind generally has the opposite experience, with children and former wives living at significantly reduced income levels.

The second result is almost the opposite of the first. No-fault divorce has also allowed women to end the marriage unilaterally, usually retaining primary custodial authority over the children. In such situations, men -- who are not even charged with any fault by their wives -- can find themselves robbed of their own children. No state has yet remedied the unjust assault on fatherhood that no-fault divorce set loose.

In times past, contested divorces may have clogged the courts and entailed acrimony, but can anyone really justify the pain and emotional carnage caused by no-fault divorce laws? Add to these ills the continued cultural subversion of marriage aided and abetted by no-fault divorce. One other angle on this tragedy is often missed -- an entire industry has grown up around divorce, with divorces proving very lucrative for many attorneys and legal professionals.

All that is what makes a legislative move in Michigan so interesting. State Senator Michelle McManus has emerged as the sole sponsor of a bill that would repeal no-fault divorce in that state.

Since 1972 Michigan's 'no fault' divorce law has required only that one spouse say 'there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.

 

Under McManus's proposal, specific grounds would have to be both alleged and proved in order for a divorce to be granted.

As expected, many divorce lawyers adamantly oppose the move. Michael A. Robbins, president of the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, said: "You can't legislate morality and you can't force people to stay together if they don't want to stay together." Of course, that statement ignores the fact that no-fault laws also "legislate morality" -- just in the form of a moral undermining of marriage as an institution. As a matter of fact, most laws are passed for the expressed purpose of "legislating morality."

No-fault divorce laws put the entire society at fault for weakening and injuring the most basic institution of human life and culture. There is plenty of fault to go around on this one.

Observers of Michigan politics argue that Michelle McManus's bill has little hope of passage. She is running for the office of Michigan's Secretary of State, and one defender of no-fault divorce simply charged her with pandering to voters.

That seems unlikely. There simply is not enough public opposition to no-fault statutes as yet. If anything, Michelle McManus's proposed bill may be a sign that a public debate on the effects of no-fault divorce might be taking shape. If so, this can only be for good. Let's hope that this bill sends the message that at least one state might muster the courage to rethink no-fault divorce.

The fact is, this legal practice has wrought untold human suffering and injustice since its establishment in 1969. It is an evil that exists in active opposition to the principles of God's kingdom. As Christians, we are commissioned to oppose what is evil in the advance of Christ's kingdom (see Luke 19:13). So the abolition of a policy that has systematically undermined our society's commitment to the divine plan for the family seems perfectly consistent with the admonition to "seek first the kingdom."

Throughout history, Christians have fought against countless social evils from slavery to child labor and these battles inevitably began with a campaign of sustained public persuasion that exposed the hidden evils to a public largely unaware. Similarly, no-fault divorce has become so commonplace that its evil is either obscured or ignored. But the availability of no-fault divorce has served to increase family dissolution at a rate greater than ever before in history; furthermore, it undermines the institution of marriage itself, perhaps more so than any other single factor in history. We would not be standing on the brink of same-sex marriage were it not for the corrosive effect upon marriage-as-an-institution that followed the divorce revolution.

No-fault is national catastrophe. Anything which overturns the order or systems of things whereby families are destroyed and the whole of society adversely affected is by definition a catastrophe."

You may be surprised to learn that the initial efforts to advance no-fault divorce legislation were underwritten by Hugh Hefner through the Playboy Foundation, which financed an army of young lawyers working to advance these antifamily policies. Let's see…America's largest pornographer working to rewrite public policy related to the family? There's something seriously wrong with this picture! Alfred Kinsey also played an instrumental role in reducing these legal protections by falsely reporting that adultery was commonplace in most marriages. This reduced the stigma associated with adultery and ultimately served as the basis for eliminating all laws against adultery. Hefner and Kinsey both saw marriage as the final barrier to sexual freedom and thus determined to No-fault divorce is much more than just divorce; it is a legal tyranny that denies the fundamental right of due process to a defendant. Prior to no-fault divorce, the party seeking divorce (plaintiff) was required, by law, to demonstrate cause on the part of the other party (defendant) prior to dissolving the marriage, dividing the family's assets, and destroying the two-parent structure essential for children. These measures provided strong legal protections—primarily to women and children who might otherwise find themselves abandoned by husbands and fathers who simply sought "greener pastures." (You might think me overly hard on men here. Granted, both men and women can be guilty of abandoning marriages; however, statistically speaking, women and children are most often the victims.)

Under the system prior to no-fault divorce, the state was limited in its actions and intrusion into the private affairs of the family except in those cases in which one of the parties committed a legally recognized offense against the other. In the wake of no-fault divorce, the state has been given unprecedented access into and unconstitutional authority over what was previously sacrosanct: the family. Historically, the law regarded the family as a preserve of privacy that was largely off-limits to the government. It was what Supreme Court Justice Byron White (1962-1993) called the "realm of family life, which the state cannot enter."

What is most shocking about no-fault divorce is the inherent unconstitutionality of it all, a direct violation of human rights. A retired circuit court judge writes, "To the characterization of no-fault divorce laws as both ungodly and inhumane I would add unconstitutional as well." In my conversation with attorney J. Shelby Sharpe he was confident that if a case involving no-fault divorce were ever brought before the U.S. Supreme Court it would no doubt be ruled unconstitutional and no-fault divorce abolished!

One of our most fundamental protections secured by the U.S. Constitution is the right to due process, which secures the right of an individual to be heard regarding issues of life, liberty, or property. This means that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, property, or of any right granted him by statute, unless the matter involved is first adjudicated or ruled against him at trial.

No-fault divorce completely usurps the defendant's constitutional right to due process. In the case of Judith Brumbaugh, author of Judge, Please Don't Strike That Gavel on My Marriage, with whom I spoke, her husband of twenty years had an adulterous affair, formed a relationship with the other woman, and decided that he no longer wanted to be married. Under the no-fault procedure he was able to file for divorce claiming that their marriage was "irretrievably broken." Judith contested this claim, hoping to preserve her marriage; however the no-fault procedure ultimately gave her husband and the court the right to deny her due process. She was, in essence, charged with a crime, found guilty, and sentenced without ever being heard. The marriage contract was unilaterally dissolved.

Judith lost her home, her children, and her husband; she was left nearly destitute from legal expenses and utterly without recourse—which is legally impossible in every other contractual obligation in this country! And yet in the most important contractual obligation in society, under no-fault divorce the plaintiff is able to break his or her contractual obligation without the right of due process being given to the other party in the contract. The defendant's life can be ruined, her liberty restrained in countless ways, and her property taken away by the courts. I know, and I'm sure you do as well, too many women and children who have suffered similar results.

This is a travesty of justice that affects more than a million families each and every year, with an annual related cost to taxpayers of more than $48 billion! This cost doesn't even begin to consider the secondary societal effects of family dissolution upon crime rates, welfare rolls, and the emotional and psychological effects upon the children of divorce. No-fault divorce has created an easy divorce culture, which, according to Maggie Gallagher, an affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values and a nationally syndicated columnist, "demotes marriage from a binding relation into something best described as cohabitation with insurance benefits."

By now, any observer with a modicum of moral insight is aware that marriage is an institution in crisis. Nevertheless, one of the most significant factors contributing to this crisis is often overlooked, and that one factor has led to the breakup of more marriages than any other--no-fault divorce.

America's embrace of easy divorce is the most significant reason that marriage is now threatened and, by some measures, hanging by a thread.

No-fault divorce laws emerged in the United States during the 1970s and quickly spread across the nation. Even though only nine states had no-fault divorce laws in 1977, by 1995, every state had legalized no-fault divorce

Became the most devastating weapon in the arsenal of feminism, because it creates millions of gender battles on the most personal level." As far back as 1947, the National Association of Women Lawyers [NAWL] was pushing for what we now know as no-fault divorce. More recently, NAWL claims credit for the divorce revolution, describing it as "the greatest project NAWL has ever undertaken."

The feminists and NAWL were not working alone, of course. Baskerville explains that the American Bar Association "persuaded the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws [NCCUSL] to produce the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act." Eventually, this led to a revolution in law and convulsions in society at large. This legal revolution effectively drove a stake into the heart of marriage itself, with inevitable consequences. In effect, no-fault divorce has become the catalyst for one of the most destructive cultural shifts in human history. Now, no-fault divorce is championed by many governments in the name of human rights, and America's divorce revolution is spreading around the world under the banner of "liberation."

Baskerville gets right to the heart of the matter, labeling no-fault divorce as a "misnomer." In reality, the "no-fault" language was taken from the world of automobile insurance. These new divorce laws did not really remove fault from the context of divorce, but they "did create unilateral and involuntary divorce, so that one spouse may end a marriage without any agreement or fault by the other." As Baskerville explains, "Moreover, the spouse who divorces or otherwise abrogates the marriage contract incurs no liability for the cost or consequences, creating a unique and unprecedented legal anomaly."

In many cases, the reality is even worse. In effect, no-fault divorce means that the courts now assist the violator of marriage vows. Any spouse can now demand a divorce for any reason and be assured that the courts will award the divorce--and will often grant disproportionate favor to the party seeking the divorce.

No-fault divorce means that legislators created an "automatic outcome" in issues of divorce. "A defendant is automatically found 'guilty' of irreconcilable differences and is not allowed a defense,"

No-fault divorce laws actually assume that both parties are equally at fault, since no party could be innocent. The perverse assumption inherent in this argument is that if any individual is unhappy, someone else must necessarily be at fault. Once no-fault divorce became a reality, spouses found themselves simply informed of the fact that their marriage was effectively over. Many of these spouses were not even aware that the marriage was in trouble--and trouble is not even necessary.

Why did all this happen? How could an institution as fundamental and basic as marriage become transformed in less than a decade's time? Baskerville insists that no-fault divorce laws were not demanded by the public. "No popular clamor to dispense with divorce restrictions preceded their passage; no public outrage at any perceived injustice provided the impetus; no public debate was ever held in the media." As Baskerville summarizes: "In retrospect, these laws can be seen as one of the boldest social experiments in history. The result effectively abolished marriage as a legal contract. As a result, it's no longer possible to form a binding agreement to create a family."

Divorce--once a matter of shame and tragedy--is now celebrated as a positive good. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead has documented the rise of what she calls "expressive divorce." Spouses simply assert a right to self-interest and self-actualization as a sufficient basis for abandoning a husband or wife, and even children. The "rights talk" lamented by Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon now replaces serious moral discourse, and those seeking a divorce can simply claim a supposed "right" to divorce without any basis for justification.

A basic dishonesty on the question of divorce pervades our political culture. Baskerville cites Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm as referring to divorce as a couple's "private decision." Granholm's comments came as she vetoed a bill intended to reform divorce law in her state. The danger and dishonesty of referring to divorce as a couple's "private decision" is evident in the fact that this supposedly private decision imposes a reality, not only on the couple, but also on children and the larger society. Indeed, the "private decision" is really not made by a couple at all--but only by any spouse demanding a divorce.

Perversely, the parent who demands the divorce "is also the one most likely to retain custody" of children, Baskerville laments. He suggests that no-fault divorce "amounts to a public seizure of the innocent spouse's children and invasion of his or her parental rights, perpetrated by our governments and using our tax dollars."

As if all that isn't bad enough, divorce has now become an industry. Some lawyers and law firms specialize in divorce practice, and Baskerville describes the legal divorce business as "a multibillion-dollar industry" in which a vast number of persons hold a vested interest. He writes: "The political interests that abolish marriage in the first place have only grown more wealthy and powerful off the system they created," adding: "Divorce and custody are the cash cow of the judiciary and directly employ a host of federal, state, and local officials, plus private hangers-on. More largely, the societal ills left by broken families create further employment and power for even larger armies of officials. So entrenched has divorce become within our political economy, and so diabolical is its ability to insinuate itself throughout our political culture, that even critics seem to have developed a stake in having something to bemoan. Hardly anyone has an incentive to bring it under control."

That's where the Christian church must enter the picture and provide leadership. Where are our pastors on the question of divorce? Why are so many pulpits silent on this issue? The obvious answer is fear and intimidation. Divorce has become so common that many Christian leaders fear creating a tidal wave of offense and resentment if they deal honestly with the issue--or address it at all. Accordingly, successive generations of Christians have now grown to adulthood believing that divorce is simply a lifestyle option. Where is the recognition that divorce is an affront to the glory of God and a sin that is expressly described in the Bible as an evil that God hates?

Without clear leadership from the pulpit, the issue of divorce has simply fallen through the cracks of church life, and many congregations effectively ignore divorce in their midst, as well as all the tragedy and brokenness that follow. In so doing, the Christian church has become complicit with the divorce culture and will bear God's judgment for its failure of nerve.

We cannot expect this society to take us seriously as defenders of marriage if we are not the enemies of divorce.

  



Pastor Fred on "Adultery of the Mind".....04/2010

1) Do I look pure on the outside to everyone else — but in reality have I merely settled on a middle ground somewhere between paganism and obedience to God’s standard?

2) Do I get any sexual gratification from anyone or anything other than my wife?

If you do, then you aren’t keeping yourself and your marriage bed “undefiled” as the Bible tells us to do. I don’t know one true Christ follower who doesn’t WANT to be a man of sexual integrity. Yet at the same time I believe most Christian men struggle greatly in this area of their lives.

First, I had to personally come to realize that I cannot mix God’s standard for sexual integrity with my own — because mine will always fall short of God’s. It isn’t a matter of “what I can and can’t get away with” in what I allow my eyes and mind to focus on, but rather staying away from everything that even hints at being wrong.

Why even go there? What’s the point of “playing so close to the edge?”
Is that kind of behavior something that would please God?
Is it a place where God would want to go with you?

Where there is too much confidence in your own strength as well as reckless regard for the consequences, a fall is very likely.

Obtaining even a hint of sexual gratification from a woman by writing to her, talking to her, viewing her in real life or in pictures, on the computer or any other form where you would be embarrassed if Jesus were with you, is a form of adultery Ephesians 5:3-5

Yes, if you are a child of God, He IS with you.

“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute (or a woman that you are viewing as if she were one)? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh” 1 Corinthians 6:15-16


The Bible tells us to flee from immorality (as the Bible says that Joseph did when tempted by Potifar’s wife). We’re told to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” And anything or anyone that we allow for even a brief time to sexually entertain us, apart from our wife or husband that we don’t flee from entangles us into sinning. And make no mistake about it, this type of sin is addicting. Experts say that it is “the fastest growing addiction in the world, and is the addiction of choice among Christians.

How tragic! It’s one of the reasons so many outside of the church point to us as a bunch of hypocrites. And it has to be angering and breaking the heart of God. As God’s children, we’re God’s Holy Temple, so whatever dirt we bring into our lives, we’re throwing at God as well.
“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 a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

So don’t try to normalize any sexual behavior that dishonors God and your spouse —justifying it as “harmless” or “only natural” or saying that it “isn’t a big deal” — because it is a big deal. You give the enemy of our faith a foothold every time you entertain your sexual appetite apart from enjoying your spouse alone in your sexuality.

I personally made the decision a number of years ago to flee from feeding this type of behavior. It’s a continual battle, but it’s worth it. For me, that means turning away from TV, media ads, and any images that are the least bit suggestive.

It means that I “starve” my eyes to such an extent that whenever a woman or an image of a woman begins to tempt me to think impure thoughts, I instantly remove my eyes and my mind away from it as many times as it takes until it is gone. It’s a matter of starving that which I don’t want to grow. I only want to feed that which is beneficial to the health of my marriage and my spiritual life.

If I look like a fool to others, I don’t care. I’m not viewed as a fool to those most important to me — my God and my wife. I came to realize that holiness and purity are achieved by a series of choices that I make every day.

For me, the choices that help me are

(1) “To set no vile thing before my eyes” Psalm 101:3) and
(2) “To put to death sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires” Colossians 3:5-6

I pray you will join me in making the choice to live according to God’s standards for purity.
a) Become accountable with someone you know will hold your feet to the fire over this serious matter.
b) Search for the help God can bring your way for a “way of escape” when you are faced with temptation.
c) Stay in the Word and pray for grace to keep you strong in the battle.
d) And above all else, pray for purity as David did in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Sisters don’t condemn yourselves. A husband will work hard at convincing his wife and others that the addiction [to pornography] is her fault. He does this to lessen his own guilt, but don’t subscribe to such thinking. Beating yourself up is nonproductive and pointless. It also invites self-pity and therefore sin.”

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1

God doesn’t want us to condemn ourselves. Neither does He want us to deceive ourselves into thinking we’re perfect. We should always be open to correction and change, but God’s way of achieving transformation is through LOVING instruction, not brutal condemnation.

How are you doing with the battle in your mind? Are you refusing to ‘compare’ and ‘condemn?’ Are you thinking right? If so, you’re free to begin ‘doing.’ The first item on the ‘to do list’ is to increase your understanding and its dangers.”

Husbands and wives: We pray you will flee from sexual temptation and sin, do what you can to sexually enjoy each other only, refrain from even the “appearance of evil” and educate yourselves on these matters. Do it for your sake and also to someday help to educate your children before their minds become exposed to things that can draw them into such addictions that can ruin their lives and marriages. Keep the faith and the love in your marriage.

 

 

More to come.....






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