Join Michelle Hieb, Director of Spiritual Development for Planting Roots, as she shares the importance of Sexual Health: Untangling the Truth From Lies.
Sexual Health: Untangling the Truth From Lies
by Michelle Hieb
As a child of the eighties, my understanding of sexuality (and how to handle my own desires) was shaped by an odd blend of pop culture and purity culture.
“If it feels good, do it” combined with “Good girls don’t do it.”
When I married, I valued my husband’s desires more than my own and was ashamed. Combine that with four small children born two years apart, year-long deployments, and unmet expectations, and we were not a picture of a blissful marriage bed.
Untangling the Mess
Each of us has a unique response based on the teachings we received in our childhood (both explicit and implicit), our personal experiences, and whatever we think we know from the Bible.
The real question is whether our answer accurately reflects God’s purpose and plan.
For nearly a quarter of a century, I’ve been working to untangle my beliefs and align my understanding and actions with God’s truth. God faithfully responds by healing hurts and shining his light to distinguish lies from his truth. But that doesn’t mean it is easy.
Separate the Truth
I don’t always want to do the work required for healing or understanding; I want someone else to do the work for me and give me the synopsis.
I have a shelf of books written by well-meaning Christian men and women to help guide others through these sensitive topics. Some of the books I found helpful are now criticized by a new generation of authors, who declare their manner of approaching sexuality is the healthier God-honoring view.
Lose the Lies
Perhaps they are correct.
In our “Love is Love ” culture, pastors, and influencers regularly declare the church’s historic belief regarding sexuality as outdated and misunderstood in light of their own or a child’s personal desires. The only way any of us will know for sure is to be like the Bereans. Acts 17:11(NLT) tells us, “They searched the Scriptures daily to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.”
There are no shortcuts; we must do the hard work ourselves. I’m grateful for the many authors who have taken the time to share their stories and what they have learned from God’s word. They give me hope by reminding me of God’s faithfulness to forgive and restore. But, I must dig into God’s word myself.
Handling the Hard Stuff
For every person who tells me God’s perspective on a sexual question, I must go to scripture and read for myself to determine if His word has been rightly handled.
So, how do we do this practically?
- Invite the Holy Spirit to guide you and give you wisdom and understanding into God’s word.
- Ask God to show you what lies you are clinging to as truth.
Second, any verses cited must be read in context.
- If looking through scriptures for an answer to a question, don’t cherry-pick verses. Read the full paragraph, then read the paragraphs before and after.
Now, ask some questions:
- Does this passage stand alone, or is it part of a larger group of teachings?
- Do any other gospels or letters speak on this same topic or issue?
- If another passage is specifically referenced, read it in context as well.
Now that you’ve read, it’s time to ask more questions.
- What is God saying in these passages?
- What do they teach me about God?
- What do they teach me about the human condition?
- What am I called to do in response to this scripture?
- Will this help me to love God or others better?
- Am I seeking to understand God’s perspective, or do I want God to affirm my belief?
These are just some questions you can use as a starting point. Ask a fellow Jesus follower if they will search and pray with you to find the answers. God’s word does not shy away from talking about human sexual desire. There are stories throughout the bible documenting how we as humans handle and mishandle this gift. But there are also stories of God’s grace and forgiveness in light of our shortcomings. All of these combine to guide us in determining what we are to do with our desires.
Please help us study your word and apply it correctly to our lives. Your word says we must get the log out of our own eye before trying to remove the speck from others. We want to walk in your truth. In Jesus Name, Amen.