**DISCLAIMER** This blog is not your typical blog. It is very controversial, because it is about sex and masturbation. Yes, I know. Please cue the gasps and judgments. But please hear me out: This is a topic that is very hush-hush in the Christian community, which is a huge shame. Yes, there needs to be some discretion that goes with talking about this subject, but most people avoid it all together. I do not think this is a right way to handle it at all, which is why I am writing about it. I am taking my time writing this blog, because I want to be able to communicate things clearly and offend as few people as possible, but if at the end of this you are still offended, then I apologize. But this subject and the way that it is treated within Christian circles is something that I am really passionate about, and I really want to discuss what I have learned and what I believe on this topic. I am not claiming to be an authority on this, but I do desire to bring this topic into the open so that people can think on it and decide between themselves and God what is right. It is not directly talked about in Scripture, and therefore we do not know exactly what God believes about it. All we can do is bring the issues to the front and let people know what is going on in order to help them understand this matter.
Also, this blog is written with the assumption that other believers in Christ will read it, so it is directed toward the maturing Christian in their walk with God.
And let me say this: TALKING about sex is not a sin. If it causes someone to sin then it should not be talked about or the person should not be engaged in that situation. If sex is discussed in a Godly manner with God being at the focus and it is not discussed in a demeaning way, then there is nothing wrong with it. However, if the subject causes you to stumble, then I would suggest not reading this blog. Go back to facebook, myspace, or go check your email and forget about this blog.
All my life I have heard people say that sex is a good thing, but it is something that you should not experience or even desire before marriage. Now. I want to make myself clear right away and say that I believe that sexual intimacy with any other human being outside of marriage is adultery and lust, and therefore a sin. However. I will be completely honest in saying that I am a VERY sexually minded human being. If that offends anyone, I apologize, but I must be open and honest. So for me to hear that I should not desire sex before marriage is a very difficult thing for me, and for a long time it made me feel a huge sense of shame. Every time something would make me a little bit aroused, I would feel as though I were sinning (that is if I was not in the process of lusting) and therefore I would feel so shamed and guilty because of it. Growing up, I HATED the fact that I was so sexually oriented. I wanted nothing more than to stop feeling the way I felt, because even the littlest of things would get me going. I would pray fervently that God would take it away, and He would help me not to feel that way, because I felt as if I were going out of control and was falling deep into sin. He never took it away, so I began to feel more and more shame because of it.
This is the effect that many Christian speakers and teachers have had on me. And it has only been recently - and I admit to sin in the process - that I have come to realize that shame does not need to be felt for having the desire for sex.
God created sex. Sex is a GOOD thing. Have I ever experienced what it is like with another person? No, I have not. I am firmly committed to waiting till marriage, because I know that this is biblical. However, this is where the topic of masturbation comes in. Which, interestingly, is even more of a hush-hush subject than sex is. Sex is beginning to be talked about more within the Christian community, but masturbation remains very hidden. Even as I attend Moody Bible Institute, I walk around the campus and start building friendships with people just to see them acting as if they would never do something like that, and they are completely pure with no issues whatsoever.
My heart begins to hurt when I see this happening, because those who are really burdened by their struggles have nowhere to turn because they will feel judged and looked down upon for struggling with (*gasp*) sexual sin! This infuriates me. Why do we put such an emphasis on sexual sin and make it out to be worse than any other kind of sin? We judge those who have sex outside of marriage and those who masturbate regularly and think of them as horrible people when we as fellow believers lie, cheat, steal, and focus on other things instead of Christ. These things are JUST as bad as sexual sin! God does not rate sin. It is ALL abhorrent in his sight.
However, the question still remains of whether or not masturbation is a sin. I have been researching both sides, and I have come to the conclusion that we do not really know. I told you I was not going to be an authority on the subject. :) I think that this may be an area where one needs to choose between good, better, and best. Obviously we as Christians know that God wants the best, correct? We want to know that we are choosing the best path for our lives and that we are allowing God to direct our paths. Now. I have heard many arguments for and against masturbation:
"You're allowed to feel good before marriage."
"Masturbation is putting pleasure before God."
"It's not bad if you don't lust during masturbation."
"Masturbation can ruin your future marriage."
"If it feels good, it should be okay. Besides, you're not doing it with anyone else."
"It's a form of homosexuality."
"It's unhealthy to completely deprive yourself of sexual pleasure."
I have heard these arguments and more regarding this issue, and I understand both sides of the debate. However, I now stand by my position that I am to follow God's best for my life. What is God's best, exactly? While I cannot say for everyone what God's best may be for them, I believe that God does intensely desire for us to put Him first and put Him above any other desire that we may have, because He wants to be our fulfillment. Now let me be completely honest in saying that I tried desperately to find some kind of justification for masturbation so that I could say it was not a bad thing - in fact, I started this blog as an attempt to say that it is completely okay. However, through prayer and research, I have found little to say that masturbation is the best for my Christian walk. This is because when it takes place, it is telling God that He cannot fulfill my needs and take care of me. Only I can take care of myself.
Obviously because I am such a sexual person I long to one day be married and experience that with another person. However, I very often become impatient and want to already have that experience without thinking about the consequences. Do I know for certain if it will affect my marriage in the future? No. But obviously people who are already married have wisdom on this matter, and I think that it is important to seek Godly wisdom from those who are willing to give it. My question is though, why risk the possibility of my masturbation now damaging my marriage in the future? I do not think that the act is worth the risk.
Like I said before, I started this blog wanting to prove that masturbation is allowed and even healthy. However, as I dove deeper into the topic, I could not explain away all the evidence that though it may be permissible because it is not directly outlined in Scripture, it is not necessarily beneficial. The ESV translation of 1 Corinthians 6:12 says this: "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful." I also like the NIV translation that says, "Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial." Though masturbation may technically be permissible because it is not directly talked about in Scripture, I now do not believe that it is helpful or beneficial to the Christian's lifestyle. Can a Christian still participate in ministry if they are struggling with masturbation and sexual sin? Yes. Our weaknesses do not exclude us from being part of ministry. However, this depends on the attitude of the one involved, and no one can know the attitude apart from the individual and God Himself.
The way I see it is that masturbation takes my own desires for pleasure and puts them above my faith in Jesus Christ. I am telling Him that He is not enough, and that I cannot wait for His timing to bring someone into my life to experience that with. Does that mean that I am not going to fall and I am not going to have an intensely strong desire occasionally or even often? No. Does it mean that I am going to judge others who believe that it is completely okay for Christians to engage in? Definitely not. I know that this is a gray area that not every believer believes the same about, and I am okay with that. I believe that committed Christians will take this matter to God and will be able to decide what is best.
Fellow believers, please remember this: we are not living for ourselves. We serve a Being that is higher than anything and anyone else, and He deserves everything from us. So decide between yourselves and God if participating in the action is living to please yourself or not. I do not have authority to say yes or no, but what I do know is that God has convicted me on numerous occasions recently by showing me that my actions indicate that I do not trust Him. And this includes other areas of life as well.
Christians, I will be vulnerable and open to you in saying that I have struggled with sexuality and sexual sin my entire life, and it is still part of my struggle today. I used to feel so condemned, judged, and shamed because of this. But we all have our different weaknesses and struggles in our journey to sanctification, and we need to be open and understanding to everyone's struggles, no matter what it is. The Church has become way too judgmental - myself definitely included. It is time that we stopped doing that and we became what we were meant to be, which is members of the same body, working together and taking care of one another. Let us not forget that, because it is of utmost importance.
I know that my admittance to struggling with this may come as a shock to some of you, but I have no desire to hide my weaknesses. I will boast in my weaknesses so that it may be evident to all that I have been changed and transformed by the grace of God working in my life, and I am not a servant of the flesh, but I am a servant of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As I work toward holiness in my own journey of sanctification, I long to encourage others who may be going through the same issues that I have gone through and am going through at the present time. None of us is perfect. NONE. However, there are way too many Christians out there who put on a front that says that they have everything together and they do not struggle with any sins. This is a heartbreaking attitude that must change. Therefore, let us strive to build up the body of Christ by being open and vulnerable to one another and rather than rejecting those who struggle, let us accept them with loving arms and encourage them as they strive for holiness just as much as we do.