“_________ Confesses Inappropriate Sexual Behavior”
Fill in the blank for yourself. This is a headline that we’ve seen with rapidly increasing frequency. Personally, I’d say that’s a very positive thing. It’s good if our society is deciding to condemn sexual abuse. But at the same time it is perplexing. Maybe you can help me understand.
Is this the same society that has “outgrown” those old “Victorian” sexual attitudes I was raised with? I was taught that sex was something not to be joked about, or discussed in public, or demeaned. It was a very special thing between a husband and wife – not something to be used to sell things, or for humor. My mother didn’t want us to watch “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” because they said, “You bet your sweet bippy.” And she figured that must be some sly sexual reference. Maybe it was. I still don’t know what it meant. But we were not to treat sex as a trivial thing. Are we going to start treating sex and a sacred thing again?
Is this the same society that praised the “free love” movement of the Sixties and encouraged more casual divorce, “open” marriage, and cohabitation? Having removed whatever guard rails there once were around marriage and sexuality, we now seem surprised that the car is sliding off the road. Are we saying that sex should now be in the context of a committed lifelong relationship?
Is this the same society that has tried to “elevate” the status of women by encouraging them to adopt the same crude sexual attitudes of some men? Men were once taught (not always successfully) that they ought to treat women with honor – to open doors, carry packages, give up your seat, stand when they enter a room. But it was felt that this suggested women were weak, so instead women were encouraged to be tougher, more competitive, to use the same foul language and to be more sexually aggressive. Vice-President Mike Pence was mocked for treating women in an old-fashioned way and seeking to be above reproach. Is that OK now?
Whatever the society may do, Jesus calls his followers to adhere to a higher standard. Pastors and teachers swear to adorn their office with a holy life. Lay leaders of the church are told, “while holiness of life and work is the way of ALL who trust in Christ, it is especially important that you, as office-bearers in his Church, show yourselves, by word and example, to be patterns of good works and Christian devotion.”
Christian men and women act like Christ. We will not look to celebrities or politicians to gauge our behavior, but to Jesus. And living in his grace and mercy, we will get back up from our failures and serve him, starting clean in each new day.