The real threat

Recently I heard an excellent sermon (by someone else, obviously) about what the Bible says about homosexuality. The presentation was apt and scripturally-based. I agreed wholeheartedly with the contention and conclusions: homosexual behavior is clearly displeasing to God, if scripture is any measure.

However, I’ve also heard and read a number of socially conservative pundits and commentators breathlessly claim in recent years that the Supreme Court decision of a few years ago, giving legal status to same-sex marriage, amounts to a serious existential threat to “traditional” marriage (one man, one woman, for life). That this court decision undermines the nuclear family unit, upon which every successful civilization has been built. Well, in the words of Gen. Sherman Potter, horsehockey.

According to the U.S. census bureau, there are roughly 350,000 same-sex married couples in the United States, that is, couples who describe their same-gender partners as husbands or wives. In contrast, there are approximately 56 million heterosexual married couples. So, we are considering an “epidemic” that involves roughly one half of one percent of the population. Does the media and the entertainment industry depict homosexual behavior as mainstream? Without question. But is it the real threat to marriage some declare it to be? Probably not.

In fact, the breakdown of heterosexual marriage (and impact on the home) in the U.S., and the world, has been going on for centuries. It has been at hyper-speed for the last few generations, with divorce rates hovering slightly below 50% for first marriages, and escalating quickly into the 60-80% range for second, third and later marriages. Some people are hard-headed, it would appear.

There are innumerable reasons for couples breaking up. In a recent statistical analysis of the top 10 reasons for divorce, none of them had anything to do with homosexual behavior, though there obviously are some marriages that fail because one partner is unfaithful with a person of the same sex. But the statistical number is negligible. The number one reason marriages fail? It’s not hard to guess: infidelity. More marriages break up because of infidelity than for any other reason, by a wide margin.

Jesus said this on the subject:

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Matthew 19.4-6

And later in explanation for what he considered the most serious offense to a marriage, Jesus added:

Whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” – Matthew 19.9

There are other reasons for divorce (and many of these lead ultimately to infidelity): communication problems, physical and psychological abuse, financial issues, incompatibility, boredom, religious differences, child-rearing issues, addictions, etc. But infidelity is the top reason. In short, people who promise to be faithful for life, decide – for whatever reason – not to take such a vow seriously after a period of time.

Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5 addresses one of the primary issues related to this infidelity: lust for another. Notice,

“You have heard it said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5.27-28

When it comes to this simple admonition, we’re pretty dumb. Oh, we think we’re “progressive” in our advancement of human behavior. How quaint that our “wisdom” on the subject results in the failure of more than half our efforts. Jesus’ message is clear and direct, and needs to be remembered and applied. So here it is, with no apologies to the post-modern world who has everything figured out anyway…

Gentlemen, quit looking at women in a sexual way, as sexual objects, and lusting after them. Don’t dwell on their appearance, don’t imagine a sexual encounter, don’t allow the lust to gain a foothold in your mind. If it does, Jesus says, you are giving haven to the thoughts that will eventually lead to adultery. The seeds are being sown.

Ladies, help us guys out. Don’t make yourself the object of lust. Be very careful about how you dress, remembering that a man is sexually attracted by your appearance. Cover yourself modestly so that it is easier for a man to guard his thoughts. Your body belongs to your husband, and he is the only one who should see it for pleasurable purposes.

This is not rocket science – it’s basic biology. This is a real, serious threat to marriage, and by extension, homes, families, and innocent children. Same-sex marriages are, by comparison, a trivial matter. If we want to make our marriages work, we need to heed seriously Jesus’ teaching about lust and fidelity.

May grace reign in your life through righteousness.

– Bo Couchman

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