By Mark A. Taylor
If anybody should be talking about sex these days, it’s the church! That was our thought as we planned this issue. But frankly, sometimes I wondered if we were doing the right thing.
After all, aren’t we a little tired of hearing about sex? We’ve become numb to sexual innuendo on television and at the movies. We’re weary with each week’s new “coming out” story on the news, and many of us have regrettably resigned ourselves to the growing acceptance of gay marriage. We watch sexual infidelity ruin families and damage local churches, and at church—or in our Christian magazine—we want something more inspirational, hopeful, or encouraging than articles about homosexuality, pornography, or sex offenders.
But the realists among us realize that every congregation is faced with the challenge of presenting God’s beautiful plan for healthy sexuality. We hope this issue can help that happen.
As I’ve read the testimonies and advice from this month’s writers, I’ve come away with several threads that tie them together.
Be positive. Too often the church’s message has boiled down to a list of “thou shalt nots.” But a more productive approach is to praise God for the gift of sex. Let’s lift up the joy and fulfillment that can come to those who use the gift as he designed.
And let’s talk about it! At home, with our kids, with our spouses, in our small groups. Why should the church be the last place we hear straightforward discussions of sexual issues? Our auditoriums are filled with folks who have questions, regrets, and problems regarding sex. What can we do to make them believe the church is a place for solutions? The first step is to talk about it.
Be patient. We can’t expect non-Christians to share biblical values about sexual behavior. And we shouldn’t be surprised even when those raised in the church are seduced by the sexual temptation all around us. But as we learn about sexual behavior we know is wrong, we have a choice besides condemning or condoning. We can listen. We can focus on God’s provision for the person’s greatest good. It’s not just that their behavior is wrong; later, if not sooner, it will do them harm. Show your concern for the whole person before you remind them of the biblical standard. Many of them know it already.
Be gracious. Grace is not the opposite of truth; it’s truth’s companion. Show your love, the love of God, to those you encounter, regardless of their sexual behavior. Admit your own brokenness or struggles with temptation. And finally, after they know you care, encourage them to “go and sin no more.”
I promise we won’t put “SEX” on the cover of every month’s Christian Standard. But now is the time for the church to lovingly tell the truth about sex week after week after week.