It happened again this week. Another sex scandal and another disgraced person, this time resulting in one man’s resignation as Missouri governor. This comes after the release of Paige Patterson at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for the handling of issues regarding the opposite sex. Globally, the Vatican is seeking damage control in Chile, fearful that allegations will erode trust in South America as it did for in North America for the same issues. The point is, sex reigns not just in the entertainment forums, but in the news media as well.
Hardly an evening news broadcast passes without the mention of one scandal or another related to the issue of sex. Each time, at least one group of people registers shock as a person they once idolized falls from his pedestal. However, do we retain the right to be shocked at each new revelation?
Author Malcolm Gladwell stipulates that the principle of the tipping point is in operation in our society. The concept is that a series of smaller events can lead up to the point when even a minor action can open up the cascade of social changes. Some cite Columbine and the increase in school shootings as an example of Gladwell’s principle. For sex scandals, especially political in nature, the events of President Bill Clinton’s presidency appear to be that tipping point.
There is more that can be considered. One of the most basic principles that a student learns early in school is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Newton’s third law of motion is physical in nature, but the application traverses realms. In Scripture, we see that the action of sin results in a reaction: the initiation of consequences. The ongoing proposition of our society to devaluate sex is going to have consequences.
Privately, the concept of sex is treated so casually that the personal conscience regarding it is minimal. Only when it finds traction in the public venue does the issues of morality become relevant to the situation. If there is little private conviction about the matter, there is no legitimacy for a public conviction. Therefore, the question remains, “Have we forfeited our right to be shocked by ongoing revelations of sexual corruption?
In the upcoming weeks, we can expect a litany of jokes about Missouri Governor Eric Greitens for the events transpiring around his sexual infidelity. In the same way, the public was the recipient of humor surrounding Anthony Weiner, Harvey Weinstein, and more. However, while the public ridicules those for submitting themselves to the temptations of sexual advances, in the same breath they also ridicule those who try to maintain a testimony that is consistent with the level of morality that this topic deserves. When Vice President Mike Pence shared the safeguards he has activated in his own life for the sake of maintaining both perpetual purity and a positive profession, the immediate reaction was one of condemnation for thinking in such an archaic manner. Yet, if his testimony is one above reproach while so many around him falter, are those safeguards really irrelevant to the moral failures of today?
Simply pointing out the duplicity in reactions will fail to generate a response from the culture. Instead, if we are joyful in God and desirous of honoring Him, as Christians we have two required responses. The first required response is to safeguard our lives. There is complete certainty that enticement exists around us, not only will it continue to thrive but will continue to cultivate more opportunities. For the sake of protecting ourselves and our families then, hedges of protection are not optional; they are required. Second, we must safeguard our testimony. Maintaining an unblemished testimony is not concerned with our own glory, but points to the glory of God. Through our testimony, a hope of a different life from that being offered by the world is presented.
It cannot be said, “Just do this.” To do so reduces obedience to a mere moralistic and legalistic conception. Proper defenses against the sexual devolution of society can only be put into place when we are motivated by a love for God and a love for others. The consequences of the sexual devolution of society have shown themselves to be severe. Certainly, a love of God and others then would prompt action to protect them from those very consequences. Rather than see lives destroyed, families ripped apart, and the propensity to fall into a pattern of sin, love compels protection and accountability.
The concern for maintaining a positive sexual morality is not a topic to be taken lightly. The Christian place in society necessitates intentionality to stand against an increasingly corrupt world while it desensitizes others to the extreme nature of society’s sexual devolution. That intentionality can only be motivated by a genuine love because it compels genuine action.