OK. I admit this is sort of a rewrite of the question a couple posts ago, “Did God really say. . . ?” But, I have to also admit that both questions are inherent in many of the “answers” thrown at us from every direction. And, I also must admit that the pendulum has swung 180° from when I was much younger.
When I was a high school senior, a sophomore girl was “sent to stay with her aunt.” This was a euphemism for “she’s pregnant.” When she returned, her little boy was raised by the grandparents and treated like he was the girl’s little brother. Apart from all the whispering among students, nothing was said at school about it. No lectures on teenage pregnancy and how to avoid it. No admonitions on what happens when people go “all the way.” I guess it was assumed this was a rare occurrence and not worth much mention. And, no, this was not in the 1800’s. 🙂
When I was young, there was really not much preparation about what to do with rapidly rising hormone levels and what it meant in terms of relating to the opposite sex. I’m not so sure it is much better now. There is so much input now, that young folks simply do not have a place to put it. The public ways of expressing that relationship have certainly mushroomed. Experience and emotion prove too difficult to control. The consequences of unfaithful activity wreak havoc on lives daily, and we have no way of knowing just how today’s actions will impact these same lives years from now.
The words faithfulness and fidelity have taken a big hit. Of these two words, Webster says:
- Firm in adherence to promises.
- True and constant in affection or allegiance to a person to whom one is bound by a vow or ties of love.
- Firm in observance of duty.
- Worthy of confidence and belief.
- Adherence to what is right.
I think most people would say these things have worth, but unfaithfulness is thrown in our faces daily. We see broken promises all around us in all sorts of relationships. Unfaithfulness, affairs,and immoral and illegal acts are the subject of 90% of movies and TV programs. Unfortunately, these things are often presented as things which are just an inevitable part of life.
But, what causes the deepest pains in people’s hearts? The unfaithfulness and infidelity of someone we love deeply – broken trust and bad judgment in the heat of emotion.
One side of our society’s mouth supports faithfulness and fidelity. The other side is curved into a snide smile – particularly with regard to celibacy prior to marriage. The boundaries of what constitute “having sex” are stretched more and more – maybe to ease the conscience. But, if the boundaries are of smaller and smaller consequence, why do folks feel guilty when they are identified?
When God gave Moses the 10 commandments, they appeared to concentrate mainly on outward action. But, Jesus exposed the real meaning of them by specifically addressing two of them. He said that hatred in the mind and actual murder are related, or that lust in the mind after someone is an act of adultery. So, something does not become sin only when the body acts? Oh, oh. (Matthew 5:21-22; 27)
Why all the pain in face of infidelity? Because God built the human heart to have the intention of glorifying Him in thought, word, and deed. Pain results because the human heart still has an expectation of fidelity and trust and faithfulness because of the infinite expression of God’s faithfulness from the beginning. Has God changed His mind? In light of the common thought that humans just cannot control or resist raging hormones and unbridled imagination, has God adjusted His thinking? Are His instructions for moral conduct different in the 21st century than in the 1st simply because of changes in the mind of humanity? A big NO to that!
So, how can a single person live out faithfulness and fidelity in the midst of a society which laughs at them, but is also broken by their lack?
In my very first blog post here under “I Corinthians 7 – a new look – Part I” I wrote: “I believe that every word of Scripture is ‘breathed by God’ to teach and train us in righteousness. (II Timothy 3:16-17). So, I think the shortness of instruction in I Corinthians 7:32 and 34 to unmarried men and women is exactly what God intended to say to us. Both have the freedom to be more concerned about the Lord’s affairs because they do not have a spouse. That is unequivocally true! But, with all due respect, trying to encourage singles with only these words may fall short. What do we do with our hearts? How do we conduct our relationships with faithfulness? Who serves as our sounding board? Who is as fully vested in the decisions we must make, and helps us make them? How do we have meaningful conversations without having to make an appointment? How do we handle intimacy when even simple things are not ours to enjoy, let alone deep things? How do we satisfy the need to be touched? Who chooses us? Who puts romance in our lives? These are places where unmarrieds live every day!”
I hope this blog stimulates you to find answers to these questions and to share specific questions you may have. Talk to you later. 🙂