A: And yet, these days…it seems like things are just fine to me, despite all your doomsday projections about this so-called “sexual immorality.”
B: “Seems like.” Does it seem that way because things really are fine, or because you, and others, have become accustomed to the slowly degenerating norms?
A: If it’s happening at all, then “slowly” is a gross understatement. I doubt it’ll ever have a serious effect on society, and certainly not within my lifetime.
B: That irresponsible outlook reflects my thesis of enlarged selfishness in today’s society. As for the rate of decline in standards of morality, I wonder how much of that is due to the fact that many are fighting (alas, a losing battle) against it, despite the seeming unstoppability of its tide? Remove these “rebels,” and how much more will the degeneration accelerate?
In all honesty, what argument could be made in favor of sexual immorality, besides the fact that it is simply something for which people have an intense desire? All the above shows that it could only lead to hatred and the breakdown of society.
A: It needs to be allowed for the release of stress.
B: This is simply an excuse; there’s no indisputable proof for this. In order to prove it, one would have to show that no person has ever been able to resist the urge to indulge in sexual immorality. If it is claimed that certain individuals have a kind of mental “illness” that requires them to be sexually immoral, this could only be a theory. What seems more likely to me is that such an individual just wants to indulge in sexual immorality so desperately, he looks for any excuse to justify it. In any case, recall that marriage provides somewhat of an outlet for a person’s sexual desires, and that it is a perfectly moral and wholesome setting besides – in fact, it is the ONLY such setting for sexual behavior. There have been many men and women through the ages that have been able to forego sexual immorality, even in times in which it ran rampant through society, such as today.
Let me make clear, however, that I’m not saying that sexual immorality is easy to resist. I KNOW how tempting it is. Just about everybody eventually learns this, if they live to reach puberty. I would never say that it’s “easy” to avoid sexual immorality. I’m confident in saying that if it was easy – as easy, say, as common honesty (which isn’t always that easy either) – this would never even be a controversial topic. You might recall how I compared this life to being a kind of test that God made for us. Using this analogy, one sees that the question of sexual immorality is one of the hardest on the test, in general. Despite its difficulty, however, the answer is still that it’s wrong; make no mistake about it. It’s not my intention to vilify all those who are guilty of this kind of immorality; my point is instead to make clear the fact that the action itself is wrong, and that there is no debate to be had here. If any allowance is made for its propriety in any circumstance, there is the potential for confusion, and there must not be any confusion on this matter, if only because of the intensity of its appeal. People themselves are not evil, just perhaps misguided on occasion. “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” 1
If anyone has indulged in sexual immorality, let him recall the wonderful opportunity of repentance and the bestowal of God’s grace. No matter how steeped one is in such behavior, there is a possibility for him to get out through repentance (but let him remember to never procrastinate his repentance). This is another reason why repentance and grace are such wonderful things. The title to the famous song, “Amazing Grace,” could hardly describe it better.
- Attr. to Augustine of Hippo (354-430). ↩