To start this off, let me just say that I’m a very curious person by nature. When something happens, a lot of my thought process is devoted to the “Why?”. It’s just unavoidable. I’m constantly over-analyzing everything and from that stems a lot of things about myself that I won’t even begin to go into. This can be helpful in a lot of situations where I am trying to help someone. I hesitate to use the word “counsel” just because I’m not one to just give advice out. I would like to think that I’m a very good listener over anything else.
So, it has been laid heavily on my heart recently the issue of infidelity, whether it be fornication or adultery. Sex is a complicated thing and I don’t pretend to understand the ins and outs of that dynamic because I, myself, have not experienced it. But, from my observations, I can see that it doesn’t play out well in pretty much any relationship outside of marriage. People wonder why “good” Christians wait until they’re married to have sex. From my many non-believer friends I have come to find that it complicates some things and can ruin everything. I think Paul best explains this:
1 Corinthians 6:15-20
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Now, first off, I am by no means calling my friends prostitutes. But it’s sexual relations outside of marriage and that’s what I’m aiming at right now. Our body is a temple for the holy spirit, so what’s being suggested here is that sexual sin is a sin against the body and if the body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, from God. To commit such acts would defile this temple and would also be a sin against God. That makes sense for those of us who are saved but, as it has been my experience, there are plenty of people who are not believers and therefore think that they will do as they please. This is where my thoughts have dwelled lately. Only about the people and not the acts, I assure you.
Let us say we have a couple of people who are not professed believers, have been dating for quite some time, are living together and doing things that they ought not to. They have been operating functionally in this mode for a good span of time until she gets sick of him and decides they need to “separate”. The problem with this “separation” is they are still living together but are sleeping in different rooms of their apartment. She’s going out without him to hang out with guy friends, he’s staying at the apartment and doing his thing. He finds out one day that, in this time of “separation”, she has had sex with one of his friends while in a drunken state. And now he has to try and deal with that on an emotional level and he doesn’t know what to do. How would you counsel him in this situation? And the why of this is why people act on such impulses like cheating on your boyfriend with his friend of all people?
As an observer, I would point out that for non-believers or even perhaps Christians living in sin the ordeal of sex before marriage is a game of trial and error. And it would seem that there is plenty of error to go around. Why do they do it? They have no foundation to build, it would seem. So, trial and error is, while extremely dangerous and emotionally damaging, is a way to build a foundation of what you will and won’t do with the body God has provided you. But for someone like me who has friends that encounter things like this, I don’t want to be that knee-jerk evangelical who breaks out my Bible, doesn’t open it, but uses it to bludgeon these sinners and shouts for them to repent. I can’t operate that way because I actually want to have friends and I want to live to get married and possibly have kids one day. So, I find myself befuddled.
I try to be a good example first of all. Of the things I’ve learned lately, it’s that bible-thumping doesn’t work and people don’t want to be talked at about the salvation in the blood of Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven. So, everyone knows I am a Christian, I don’t claim to be perfect, and I have remained celibate for the 23 years I’ve been alive. All my friends know these things. But I get this kick-in-the-head feeling that there is something more I should be doing. However, I don’t know what that is other than to listen. I guess that’s a good starting point. I feel really out of my element in these situations due to my lack of experience with this type of thing. But when I am the go-to guy, or the only trusted person in these instances I feel obligated to help in any way possible. This leaves a big question mark for me as to what I should do. I am praying and maybe you will too, but I need some help and perhaps some advice.
My hope is this post isn’t viewed like I’m an outsider looking in and judging these people. That is one of my biggest irritations in the realm of Christian writing. It’s so easy to point the finger and say something is a sin and condemn people and it’s also wrong. As a person who would like to ask they “Why” of people having sex outside of marriage and then exacerbating things by having sex with someone while you’re in a relationship with someone else, I also like to know the “How”. How do we help these people to see the emotionally destructive path that we see in the example I mentioned above?