Don’t think of a guy in a hotdog costume playing a Casio keyboard. What did you do? You thought about it, didn’t you? That tactic never works, does it? I’ve played golf, I’ve played soccer (football for the rest of the world), I’ve played racquetball, and the same scenario unfolds. I tell myself, “just don’t hit the tree/goalie/my friend in the eye”. What happens? I never fail to do exactly the thing that I’m trying so hard to avoid. Why is it, then, that we use this flawed approach when it comes to sin, especially sexual sin?
Have you ever tried not to think of a naked woman/man? Have you ever told yourself, “don’t stare at that girl’s cleavage!”? What happens? How bout when you inevitably do make a poor choice and look at pornography or get frisky with your girlfriend or boyfriend? You feel terrible, right? You beat yourself up for it, beg for forgiveness, determine never to do that again, right? I don’t know about you, but as I continue to meditate on what I don’t want to do again, I end up finding myself tempted by that exact same thing and do it again, only to feel worse.
Why do we use this tactic when it comes to sexual sin? I think it’s because of how we think of purity. We treat it as though it’s a criminal record. We think that we start out with a clean slate, then we make a foolish choice and that goes on our record. We get so upset about messing up our perfect record and obsess about that choice and how it took away some of our purity, our perfection. So we confess and ask forgiveness and then we’re perfect again. All we have to do is keep sin from robbing us of our purity again. But what if purity isn’t something that can be stolen? What if it’s not a perfect record? What if it’s a character trait, a habit, like a fruitbearing plant that is to be cultivated?
I’ll go deeper into this in the next post. But until then, I’d love to hear your responses to that question.