Many years ago I was working with a couple people who were very new to Christianity. They were also involved in a type of relationship that they knew to be spoken against in the Bible. This of course was not the only sin that these two people were into but it was the most obvious and the most troublesome for them. We went back and forth about God, His love for us, the whys of His guidelines, His acceptance of who us but not of all our behaviours etc. We talked about what Jesus taught regarding sexuality and they agreed that they would not be able to justify or defend their relationship before Him. Nevertheless, they were not about to quit that part of their friendship.
Their main point seemed to be that our sexual longings can be held in check only at the risk of losing a life worth living. At one point I asked them, “If something happened to my wife through illness or accident whereby she would no longer be able to function sexually, what should I do? Would I be justified to go out and find “sexual fulfilment” with someone else? Doesn’t your understanding of what Jesus taught show that He might very well ask me to forgo that area of my life while I’m in that kind of relationship?”
“Well, yes,” they allowed.
“Well, isn’t that what He is asking you as well?”
Instantly and in unison they loudly whined, “But that’s not fair?”
Understand that these two people came to me because their understanding of the Bible led them to believe that Jesus did not sanction, more than that, He forbade the type of relationship to which they were committed. They were looking for another opinion and I agreed that they had read and interpreted the teachings of Jesus correctly.
Both of these people left the Church. They left their relationship with Jesus. They left, at least according to Jesus, any chance of spending eternity with Him. All for a few years of third-rate relationships here on earth. They decided to trade one thing for another. Both have had several other relationships come and go since that time.
If my counselling practise is any indication, I would have to say that what is perceived to be freedom, in general, and “sexual freedom” specifically is the main reason for people turning their backs on eternity in Paradise. Of course they delude themselves into believing that as long as they’re as good as they can be in other areas of their lives, or at least not as bad as some people, God will look the other way while they thumb their noses at Him in this area.
While sex may be the most common area of rebellion, “trading down” can and does fall into almost any aspect of life. Some do it because they long to be wealthy and can only envision becoming rich through dishonest means. Some turn away from God because they want to leave their spouse and begin living with someone else’s husband or wife. Most people leave behind the chance of salvation under the broad heading of “I’m not going to be accountable to anyone, up to and including my Creator.”
I find that profoundly sad. Reality is, sin makes us stupid. It blinds us to the future. It makes us almost incapable of weighing the consequences of our actions. This is what usually happens when trying to compute whether we should or should not do something in the face of dire warnings. We think:
1) It won’t happen.
2) If it does happen, it won’t happen to me.
3) If it does happen to me it won’t be as bad as they say.
4) If it does happen to me and it’s as bad as they say, there wasn’t anything that I could have done about it anyway.
. We can see examples of this in people who begin or continue to smoke in the face of overwhelming evidence that it’s harmful to us and to those who must live with us.
. We can see examples of this in people who have unprotected sex in an age of skyrocketing rates of STD’s.
. We can see examples of this in our extravagant consumption of non renewable resources.
. We can see examples of this in how we allow, encourage and support the sexualization of our children.
Something that is common in the lives of those who have chosen to dabble in Christianity is that they say, “Lord I love you. I’ll follow you anywhere. I’ll do whatever you ask of me.”
And God says, “Oh really?”
That is when He opens our eyes to the astonishing reality that what we currently long for and count on are more important to us than eternity in Paradise. Jesus says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13,14.
The small gate and narrow road symbolise a willingness and a desire to obey Jesus, who said, “The one who loves me is the one who obeys me.”
The choice is placed before us, and as Matthew 7:13 tells us, most people choose this blink of existence on earth over eternity with Jesus.
Are you that foolish? Will you trade eternity in Paradise for relationships that are destined for failure anyway?