Sexual Love and Intimacy
(Probably a good moment to take a commercial break and remind everyone that, "Views expressed are those of the individual poster and do not necessarily represent the views of all the Inkwell members." ;)
The Bill of Rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of sexual gratification. Oh, wait a minute, did I get that wrong? Well, look around you. Everything in our culture suggests that sexual gratification is an inherent right of humankind. Promiscuity, teen-aged sexuality, homosexuality, bi-sexuality, whatever it takes to fulfill your sexual needs short of forcing another or abusing a minor is fair game. Does the Bible support such a sexual bill of rights? What does God have to say about our sexuality?
Before I move on, I would like to define my terms. Often when discussing the Bible and sexuality the concept of “sin” rears its ugly head. “Sin” is such a charged word, and means different things to different people. I would prefer to break “sin” into two terms. For the first, I will use “wickedness.” We understand wickedness. It is pure evil. There is nothing justifiable about wickedness, nothing redeeming hidden within it.
Now, let’s look at the second word. In the Hebrew it is “cheit” or “het.” We don’t have a simple one-word translation in English, but the closest phrase would be “missing the mark,” or perhaps “veering off the path.” This word “het” is one of three Hebrew words for sin. Quite different than what often comes to mind upon hearing the term.
In that dichotomy, we create meaning.
But at what cost? Since the first sin, the male/female relationship has been a rocky one. We are so different, yet in those differences, in that coming together and learning to understand one another, to function as a team, we learn so much about our relationship with God. God and mankind are similar in many ways, and at the same time, so very different.
While God may understand us perfectly, it is difficult for us to understand Him, and still, we are an ideal match, created to live in intimacy, in unity with our creator. Through the male/female relationship, we come to learn much about the human relationship with God. He is the bridegroom. We are the bride. Is the road a rocky one? In the beginning, absolutely, but over time we gain understanding and intimacy. Things begin to flow into the natural rhythms that God established for them.
Of course, we are all the body of Christ, and we have much to learn from every other member of the body that will bring us closer to God, help us to better understand the full and complete nature of our Heavenly Father. We may have any number of “intimate” friends and family members, but only the marriage relationship is intended to culminate in the physical act of intimacy known as sex. Why? I think the answer lies in this phrase: pleasure with boundaries.
Physical sexuality alone is a cheap form of intimacy. It is an intimacy that fulfills only the flesh, the base animal nature of mankind. As we move on to affection and companionship, we begin to fulfill the soul, but only in spiritual intimacy is the truest part of ourselves, the part fashioned in God’s image, fulfilled. Marriage is the one relationship intended to achieve all three.
So, why is our culture missing the mark? Why is it promoting sexuality outside of God’s plan? My answer is this, we have confused sexuality for intimacy. Because we are made in the image of God, we all desire intimacy. God created us to be in personal and intimate relationship with Himself and His human representatives. God longs for intimacy with His creation, and we long for intimacy, as well. Yet, our culture points us to the physical act of sex as a cheap substitute for true intimacy.
While sex and intimacy interrelate, they remain separate. We can have sex without intimacy and intimacy without sex. The Bible gives many examples of nonsexual, loving, intimate relationships: in families, between male friends, and between female friends. Is part of our missing the mark our confusion that intimacy must equate with, therefore, result in sex?
I’m amused by the new concept of a “bro-mance” being explored on television and in movies. We need to relearn how to be close, personal, intimate friends with members of the same sex. Notice I have not mentioned intimate friendships with members of the opposite sex. Why, because these often lead to marriage and/or sex, as is the natural result of such relationships.
God has a plan for intimacy. God has a plan for human sexuality. God has a plan for marriage and lifelong commitment between the sexes that includes both intimacy and sexuality.
What about committed homosexual relationships? What about multiple intimate sexual relationships? What about serial monogamy among heterosexuals?
All of these forms of sexuality in some way cheat God’s plan. In each, you lose some aspect of the struggle and hard work required to make a heterosexual marriage work. One woman was taken out of one man, and it takes a lifetime to knit them back together.
That is why all sexuality outside of a heterosexual marriage is listed in numerous scriptures as “sin.” I for one do not believe that serial monogamists of either the homosexual or heterosexual variety are “wicked” or “evil,” simply that they are missing the mark. In fact, I hold them in the utmost love and respect. Each of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I probably do so everyday. Yet the fact remains, God has a plan, and they have chosen a different path. Those paths will always lead to some degree of separation from God. They will most certainly pull us away from His kingdom here on earth. If continued as an unrepentant lifestyle, such sin might cause us to harden our hearts toward God to the degree that it could even separate us from Him eternally.
Of course, many Christians would like to declare all forms of homosexuality wicked. Sodom and Gomorrah and all that, right. Sex can be wicked: rampant, promiscuous, perverse sexuality is wicked. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were not zapped because one nice man wanted to pursue a monogamous relationship with one other nice man. The story leading up to their destruction was about a group of men wanting to gang rape a stranger as a sort of “Welcome to the Community” gesture. Yes, from a Biblical perspective homosexuality is missing the mark, it is “het,” “sin,” but let’s be fair and stop equating it with the fiery demise of humankind.
Now back to the “Sexual Bill of Rights.” Here’s what God has to say about the issue. “If it offends you, cut it off.” Jesus clearly tells us in Matthew 5:30, anything that separates us from God must be removed. I prefer to think of this as a metaphorical removal, but then again, if you can’t metaphorically cut something out of your life, well…
The point is this. There is nothing on earth, including our sexuality that is worth separating ourselves from God and from His plan for our lives. More importantly, there is nothing worth separating us from His love and intimacy for all eternity.
Hmm, so what would be an appropriate question for today? That's a tough one. I think I'll just leave it to everyone to share what they would like to share, but please do share your thoughts on this subject, and don't be afraid to disagree.