By Rob Furlong
Author Dale Kuehne writes, "The challenge (of) the twenty-first century is not to use the same old arguments to try to persuade the West of the truth of the traditional teaching on sexual ethics (but neither should we) blindly or reflexively... accommodate the sexual revolution."
I wrote a few months back that we had moved from "tWorld" (traditional world) to "iWorld" – a world that is dominated by "what is the best way that I can guarantee my personal happiness and also live without the confines of social restraint?"
This has particular bearing on the area of human relationships, especially marriage, given a statistic I read recently: in the United States, depending on which data you read, between 40%-65% of married women are having affairs.
And a website that arranges dates for single people with more traditional beliefs asked its members between the ages of 18 to 59 "Would they sleep with their partner/date before marriage?" A staggering 65% of respondents said yes!
There is no doubt that we have well and truly moved from tWorld to iWorld!
Many people are afraid to admit that they believe in things like chastity before marriage and other long established traditional values associated with sex, relationships and marriage for fear of being called intolerant or outdated. Some perceive that holding to traditional values runs the risk of coming off as being dismissive and uncaring of others and their opinions.
It is important to remember then that caring for people does not mean that one has to accept everything that they say and believe.
There is a beautiful example of this when a woman caught in adultery is brought before Jesus for judgement. In the minds of some of her accusers she was deserving of death, as the law of the day dictated. But Jesus shows her mercy by pointing out to the crowd a fact they had conveniently forgotten – they too were guilty of sin and deserving of death. What is often missed however is that when Jesus sends the forgiven woman on her way He does so with the charge to "sin no more".
Did Jesus display genuine love and care for the woman and her plight? Undoubtedly! But neither did He accept everything that she did.
Finally, when holding to absolute moral ideals it is a good thing to remember that love must always be the aim. It is one thing to decry "how bad things are getting" but quite another to try and walk in the shoes of someone who feels broken.
I believe that keeping yourself sexually pure before and during marriage is the best way to live, but what of the young girl who gives herself sexually to a boy on the promise that he does love her, only to discover that he was lying or the victim of sexual abuse, who does not really understand why they are so promiscuous?
Do we stop to think about people like that before we opening our mouths?
If we love then we will.
So yes, one can uphold absolute moral ideals without being uncaring or dismissive. But if we are to carry the day on the debate over sexual ethics we will only do so by choosing to love, remembering that there are many who have been deeply wounded but also understanding that loving them does not mean accepting everything they say or do. •