It seemed to the Holy Spirit and to us that you should not be saddled with any crushing burden, but be responsible only for these bare necessities: Be careful not to get involved in activities connected with idols; avoid serving food offensive to Jewish Christians (blood, for instance); and guard the morality of sex and marriage. These guidelines are sufficient to keep relations congenial between us. And God be with you!
Acts 15:28-29 (The Message)
Dear God, while I was on a bike ride this morning, I listened to a series of four sermons. Reading this passage from the lectionary today made me think of part of one of the sermons.
The pastor, Andy Stanley, was talking about sexual sin and drawing a line. He said (paraphrasing) that when people go to a counselor or a pastor for counseling and they say, “I have something to tell you and I’ve never told anyone this,” it is almost never about a speeding ticket or cheating on an expense report at work. Instead it is almost always about a sexual nature—whether it was something they chose to do or something that was done to them. Sex is such an important part of the human experience, and one that has been adulterated almost from the beginning, so it makes sense that you (God) would have opinions on it and what is best for us.
Since homosexuality is not an issue for me, I’m not going to try to parse that issue here. But I have plenty of my own. He also said, “If I were to ask each of you individually what your biggest regret is that you wish you could go back and change something that you did, the vast majority would give me an answer of a sexual nature.” That would be me. I certainly have things from my past that I regret and wish I could change. I have people I wish I could apologize to. Sex has certainly been something I didn’t always do right.
It’s made me wonder what kind of person I would be if something happened to my wife. After 30 years of being monogamous in marriage, would I be able to live a life in terms of sex that would be pleasing to you, or would I grieve you out of selfishness? I truly fear the answer.
Father, help me to guard the morality of sex and marriage. And I am sorry. I’m sorry for the bad example I’ve been in the past. I’m sorry that I probably hurt people. I am ashamed. Thank you for my wife. Thank you for the last 30 years of knowing her and growing in my relationship with you through her example. I have learned so much from her. Help me to truly live into that person I’m becoming, and not just live a morality that I think I “have” to.
In Jesus’ name I pray,