Take a moment to review Galatians 6:1-5 and 1 Corinthians 10:12-13.
Western society in general, and American society in particular, is schizophrenic about sex. We still have this pervasive, if not always conscious, mythology about the Fall as primarily an issue with sex. We still use imagery of apples and sexual temptation, a symbolic association you can detect in Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It’s still a very repressive atmosphere among Christians, due to the conflation of those fairy tales and ambiguous English translations of Scripture.
Thus, in order to deal with human sexuality with any degree of detachment, our Western instinct is to go secular, removing every vestige of moral guidance. This only makes things worse, because the secular approach is based on agnostic and heart-less behavioral science and it’s still resting on the same basic cultural mythology. I can assure you that the Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) cultures did not approach human sexuality at all as Western Christians do.
Nowhere does this manifest more painfully than it does among heavy duty church folks. We have this insane notion on the surface that sex is fine in marriage because that’s overtly taught in the Bible, but we can’t treat it is a standard topic for discussion, even among adults. It has to be buried in clinical discussions where everyone is supposed to be nervous about it.
What happens if someone on church staff reveals that he suffers from temptation regarding peculiar sexual tastes? Oh, sure, we all act very mature when he asks for prayer. And when he goes on to testify that not once in his life up to now has he slipped on this issue, in our minds we all say, “Sure buddy, just stay away from my family!” Suddenly this staff member is no longer allowed to be around anyone who might conceivably be an object of his horrifying desires. That person’s ministry ends right there.
We don’t trust the grace of God. We don’t treat the church members and staff as family — you know, folks you have to live with one way or another. And we don’t pray for them; that’s a social lie Christians tell each other. If it happens they’ve gotten good counseling somewhere in the past, that doesn’t matter; they must now submit to a shocking and invasive interrogation disguised as counseling.I’ve witnessed these “counseling sessions” and wondered if there were implements of torture in the closet because of the obvious underlying terror in everyone “trying to help.”
Next month the interrogator is caught up in some scandal regarding a somewhat different sexual sin. The hypocrisy made me puke.
We don’t acknowledge this kind of temptation as entirely normal. We have this false image that calling oneself a Christian is somehow a magical tonic that wipes away our fallen human nature. The Flaming Sword at the Gate of Eden doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t stop sin; it only teaches us to care how the Father feels about it. The lusts of the flesh continue on and Adam won’t stay nailed to the Cross. But our Lord grants sufficient awareness to seek and discover escape paths away from things that disappoint Him.
So Paul in those two passages cited above warns us to remain humble and watchful of our souls, not so much those of others. He teaches us to prayerfully assess where this person is in their journey, to trust Him and them, and leave the results in His hands. Our standard American Christian schizophrenic reaction destroys more lives than we could even hope to save. We force people to keep that stuff buried inside instead of opening up because we charge way too high a price for their honesty. Seems to me it’s just an excuse to keep from opening up about our own temptations.