We’ve seen from previous posts that sexuality was given by God to be an enriching, fulfilling part of life—thank God for creating humans as boys and girls, men, and women! At a deeper level, our sexuality finds ultimate fulfillment in the marriage relationship. God created us as social beings and we are blessed at the relational level with friends, family, but there is no other human relationship like marriage. In it, we are known intimately and loved ultimately. This is why marriage provides the proper context for sexual expression.
But as with all of God’s blessings, it is only this way when it is exercised in accordance with His will. When we go off the rails (i.e., when we decide we know how to use God’s gift better than He does), that’s when the blessing becomes a curse. That’s when we experience sexual brokenness.
Sexual brokenness takes many forms. They all hold in common a drifting and distortion of creation truths. Like Eve and Adam taking the fruit, there is a conscious or unconscious violation of boundaries established by God.
1. Sex outside the marriage relationship.
The sexual relationship is intended by God to be an expression and celebration of the oneness between a husband and wife. Sex apart from marriage is robbed of this context and is like a person driving a car who is unlicensed, uninsured, and intoxicated. Just as they have no business being behind the wheel, and we have no business having sex outside marriage (Hebrews 13:4). There is no marriage license formalizing our commitment to each other and to God; no emotional assurance that comes as a result of making such a covenant—we are simply intoxicated by the moment and our desire (James 1:13-15).
In a 2020 survey done by the Pew Research Center, 92% of people said there was nothing wrong with casual sex between two adults. No surprise there—although it does show why there is so much sexual brokenness in our culture and how many people are sadly missing out by not limiting their sexual expressiveness to the special person they become one with in marriage. There’s something wonderful about such intimacy being uniquely theirs.
More alarming was that same survey said that 50% of people who identified themselves as followers of Jesus said there was nothing wrong with casual sex. Doesn’t that just stagger you? I suppose we can try to make ourselves feel better with the recognition that people saying they are disciples is not the same thing as people living as disciples. But that can’t totally explain it. In the end, we’re left with the sad truth how much the world has impacted Christians in this area (rather than vice versa). We see that many of God’s people are broken at a fundamental level regarding sexuality.
Adultery is sexual involvement with someone who is not our spouse and/or with someone else’s spouse. It is personally destructive to the individuals involved as well as to their families. Adultery carries with it all the baggage that sex outside marriage does, plus you are involved in covenant breaking. It is personally destructive to the individuals involved as well as to their families. Just think of David’s adultery and all the pain it brought to so many people (2 Samuel 11-19). They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.
Abortion belongs in the discussion of sexual brokenness at this point for several reasons. The most obvious is that pregnancy often occurs outside marriage and abortion is often seen as “the answer” to an unintended consequence. Indeed, much of the fervency in support of abortion is doubtlessly so that we have a workaround for our sexual crimes. This is exactly the kind of thinking employed by David in setting up Uriah to be killed so his adultery with Bathsheba could be covered up. But abortion only compounds our sin by adding an innocent victim.
Then too, if we’re honest, abortion rarely occurs because of rape (1 percent). Abortion inevitably happens because we don’t want the “inconvenience/responsibility” of a child, another child, or a child with some type of disease or disability. If we step back and look at the bigger picture, what we see is people wanting to use God’s gift of sexuality in a highly selfish, corrupted way. We might couch our speech in the language of our rights or our bodies, but the truth is even more primal than that—we want what we want and will do anything we need to protect our interests and desires and evade responsibility for our actions.
Finally, something needs to be said about the men who allow abortions to happen because they aren’t willing to be take responsibility for their actions. Their solution is to cut and run leaving the woman they impregnated to deal with the situation on her own. This is a failure of manhood at the most basic level—a failure to protect and provide. The fact that abortion is seen as a women’s issue is a sad commentary on men in our culture.
4. Any form of abusiveness.
Sexual, physical, verbal—it is all wrong and there should be zero tolerance of it.
5. Sex substitutes (i.e., cyber-sex, sexting, pornography, sexualizing/lust, etc.).
All these things represent distortions of our sexuality. Instead of finding fulfillment through a sexual relationship with a husband or wife, people turn to these things to do with someone who isn’t their spouse. They are sexual outlets that objectify the people they are involved with and make sex an end within itself.
6. Same gender sexual relationships.
The sexual relationship was created by God for a husband (male) and wife (female). God said so (Genesis 2:21-25) and so did Jesus (Matthew 19:4-6—the idea that Jesus never spoke against homosexuality is shattered by this text). Sex between people of the same gender was one of the things practiced by the Egyptians as well as the Canaanites. Israel was forbidden from engaging in this “detestable” practice (Leviticus 18:3, 22, 24-30). It is also condemned in the New Testament in Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:8-11).
Notice that these texts don’t qualify these behaviors in any way. These things aren’t wrong because one person is forcing himself on another so they’re not part of a loving relationship—these behaviors are inherently wrong because they are in violation of the way God created man and woman.
7. Gender anarchy.
God created humanity as male and female. Gender is biologically (not psychologically) determined. Men are not to present themselves as women nor women as men (Deuteronomy 22:5). No amount of hormones or surgery will make a female out of a male! It will just be a man (chromosomally) who has taken female sex hormones and had his body surgically altered—but it will still be a man. You can’t change that!
8. Sexual identity.
Connected to this but also to the larger brokenness in our culture is the mistake of seeing our sexual identity as primary. We are first and foremost, made in the image of God. To see ourselves as anything else is to distorts who we are and drives us apart rather than bringing us together. Our primary identity is not racial, sexual, or anything other than those who have been made in our Father’s image.
As you can see, sexual brokenness is everywhere in our culture. It is quite wrong to think of it only in terms of same gender relationships or gender anarchy. In fact, those constitute the second wave that has been made possible by our laxness in regard to more basic matters like sex outside of marriage and adultery. Our failure to be faithful in those areas has brought about the consequences we are now experiencing.
Despite all of this, there is hope and healing to be found in Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Our brokenness in this area or any other doesn’t have to be the last word!