Crossing the Line…

Lots of times people ask questions like this: “Is having a friend of the opposite sex wrong?” or “What about chatting and texting all hours of the day and night? It’s just chitchat—is that okay?” “Is sexting really an affair?  It’s just flirting, it’s not physical and it’s just words!” or “How about cybersex.  I mean it’s not like we had REAL sex!  Is that crossing the line?”  

Have you heard those kinds of questions?  It’s as if the people asking the question want to go RIGHT UP TO THE LINE of doing the wrong thing, but not cross the line.  Many of these questions come up precisely BECAUSE we have an incorrect view of what fidelity and sex even ARE!  If you think of sex as “doing things to myself (or using someone else) physically which result in an amazing physical sensation and relaxing release” … well it does do those things but that’s like the tiny tip of the iceberg of what sex is meant to be!  Likewise, as we’ve already discussed in the blog “Fidelity is not asking ‘How Far Can I Go?’ ” faithfulness (fidelity) is “devotion to a person or duties: allegiance , constancy , fealty , loyalty…the state of loyalty and devotion to obligations, duties, and observances that are owed to a certain person (namely your spouse).”  In our marriages, we are supposed to reflect Christ‘s marriage to His Bride, the Church.  This is why husbands have federal headship over their wives–to reflect God‘s headship over Christ and Christ’s headship over His bride, the Church!  Further, when a wife is submissive to her husband, she is directly demonstrating a living example of how Christ was submissive to God and how we (the Church) are in submission to Christ! 

Taken in that context, where our marriages reflect Christ and His Church–did Christ come as the Son of God, with all the authority and glory of God in the flesh, and say “Hey everybody!  I’m GOD!  Serve me!”??  Or did He demonstrate a servant heart, even to the point of laying down his life in obedience, saying “I am indeed God but I’m going to act in a way that obeys God and is for your best interest, not self-centeredly focused on my own”??  If our marriages are a mirror of Christ, then how can our sex life be “doing things to myself (or using someone else) physically which result in an amazing physical sensation and relaxing release”?  Our sex lives, as a gift of God to intimately KNOW our spouse, would have to reflect that attitude of “…I’m going to act in your best interest instead of my own…”!  Right? Our sexuality is reserved for one person with whom we are in a lifelong covenant marriage, to get to KNOW each other intimately on every level: physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.  Likewise our faithfulness to our spouse also would reflect that attitude of “…I’m going to act in a way that focuses on showing you the loyalty that is owed to you by my promise–not on what I can get away with!”  So now let’s look at those questions again, from that point of view!  

“Is having a friend of the opposite sex wrong?”  Well let’s use those two standards: Sexuality is reserved for one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage, and it is a servant’s attitude  “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own.”  How far can you go?  You tell me.  When we marry someone we stand before God and our families as witnesses and promise to give 100% of our affection and loyalty to that one person ONLY (forsaking all others…until death parts us).  So how far can you go before you are giving some percent of your affection to that opposite sex friend?  Or some part of you gives some loyalty to the friend and the remainder of the loyalty to your spouse?  Does this reflect an attitude of “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own” -OR- does it put your own selfish desires ahead of your spouse?  Then I guess you have your answer don’t you?  

See how easy it is to answer these questions when you get the right point of view!
“What about chatting and texting all hours of the day and night? It’s just chitchat—is that okay?”   Again, let’s use those two standards: Sexuality is reserved for one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage, and it is a servant’s attitude  “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own.”  Well again you tell me: how does chatting and texting with another person of ANY gender indicate that you’ve reserved intimate knowledge of yourself for the one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage?  How does chatting and texting with another person demonstrate acting in your spouse’s best interests and pleasures?  I don’t see how it does!  I see a self-centered focus on what makes YOU feel good or feel happy or whatever!  
There is even more to consider too.  Two of my favorite verses are I Corinthians 10:23-24 and Philippians 4:8 .  In I Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul is talking to the Church about our freedom–how we are free to eat or drink anything that God has created–but he is very clear in telling the Corinthians that not all things are BENEFICIAL and not all things are CONSTRUCTIVE.  We can use that as a pattern to determine if things “cross the line” too!  How does it benefit YOUR SPOUSE for you to chat and text with another person of any gender all hours of the day and night?  Does that kind of behavior benefit the Church–the body of Christ?  How about is it constructive?  Does chatting and texting with another person build your marriage and make it a living testimony of God’s faithfulness to us?  Is it constructive to the Body of Christ or is it another example of hypocrisy to unbelievers?  And in Philippians, the apostle Paul is nice enough to list for us the KINDS of things we should be thinking about: “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy…”  COOL!!  Is chatting and texting with someone all hours of the day and night true (as in “true hearted”)?  How about noble?  Is it right?  What about pure–is it pure?  Lovely?  Behavior to-be-admired?  Is texting with another person acting in a way that is excellent and worthy of praise?  
Seems like the answer is pretty clear to me!  
“Is sexting really an affair?  It’s just flirting, it’s not physical and it’s just words!”  I’ll let you do this one on your own.  But remember our criteria:
1. Intimacy (physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually) is reserved for one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage.  Does sexting reserve intimate knowledge of you on all those levels for only your spouse?
2.  Does it demonstrate a servant’s attitude  “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own”?  How would sexting be acting in your spouse’s best interests?  Isn’t the sexting focused on YOU and YOUR pleasure?  
3. Is it BENEFICIAL?  Is it CONSTRUCTIVE?   Does the sexting benefit your spouse or your marriage?  Does it benefit the Church?  Is sexting constructive to your marriage or family?  Is it constructive to the Church?  Does sexting help lead the unsaved to salvation?
4. Is it true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy?   I think you get the drift by now, don’t you?  
“How about cybersex.  I mean it’s not like we had REAL sex!  Is that crossing the line?”   You know, I’m just going to remind you of our four criteria:  
1. Intimacy (physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually) is reserved for one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage.
2.  Does it demonstrate a servant’s attitude  “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own”?   
3. Is it BENEFICIAL?  Is it CONSTRUCTIVE?  (I Cor. 10:23-24)
4. Is it true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy? (Phil. 4:8)  
Gentle reader, I challenge you today to change your perspective.  Rather than asking “Where is the line, so I can come RIGHT UP TO THE LINE but not cross it” I challenge you to look at your marriage, your sexuality, and what you do with others in a wholly new way: “Where is the line, so I can stay as far away from it as possible!!”  

2 thoughts on “Crossing the Line…”

  1. The questions you challenge people to ask themselves are excellent. In case these aren’t enough, I would add one more: How would you feel if your spouse did the things you are doing or planning to do? An honest answer to that question can wake someone up pretty quickly.

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