As part of Bethel Church’s preparation for the upcoming sermon series entitled “Crazy Sex: Embracing God’s Best in a World Gone Crazy,” this letter has been sent out to the Bethel Church family. I thought it might be helpful for all of my blog readers as well.
“Sex” may well be the most influential word in our culture, fitting powerfully into a variety of interchangeable prefixes and suffixes—words like homosexuality and sex-change and sexting, and so forth—and shaping our attitudes, language, entertainment, politics, and more. Glossy magazines scream the word at you as you work your way through the check-out line at the grocery store. It dominates mainstream television, cinema, music, and video games. Sports heroes are caught sending sexually explicit photos of themselves to strangers. Popular clothiers like Abercrombie & Fitch now offer push-up bras for preteen girls. Pornography consumes teenage boys and grown men—and, increasingly, women and girls. The reality is the world has gone crazy regarding sex. And the repercussions are monumental.
Sadly, the church remains silent; and if the church does address sex it tends to come off shrill, out of touch, and merely judgmental. One wonders if there could be more to the story of sex—something meaningful that transcends the way our world thinks about it. I happen to believe that in the Bible God offers some special insights into sex—and the contrast between his notions of sex and the world’s ideas is so great it’s like trying to compare an expensive piece of fine china to a greasy paper plate.
This May at Bethel Church we dig into the Scriptures to know more of God’s views on sex. In a sermon series entitled, “Crazy Sex: Embracing God’s Best in a World Gone Crazy,” we will consider this most precious gift and the way in which it can shape our lives. This series won’t be salacious or judgmental or tacky or obnoxious. My hope is you’ll walk away from this series with clarity regarding God’s special provision of sex, what it is to live without shame, how to discern the ways the world ruins the gift, and how to find healing and hope if needed. I promise it won’t be anything weird. But it may well be the most important series of sermons you will have heard in years.
Keep up with the “Crazy Sex” sermon series through Bethel Church’s media page.
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Red . . . .
The healing effects of time are somewhat dubious. Some things never do go away. However, resources abound to enable us to cope with and ultimately rise above even the most horrid things. Would you be willing to contact me at Bethel Church regarding resources that might be helpful?
Thanks for the prayers. I wish time healed…but it doesn’t. Living in silence and shame…and its taken its toll.
Red . . .
It is terribly difficult. Here are some things to consider:
First, one of the primary reasons we don’t forgive is we think we then have to trust. But if we have to trust the untrustworthy? Well, forget it! The fact is, trust is earned, and there are some people who wound us who may never, ever, earn that trust back. Or, it may take a very long time.
But forgiveness is very different than trusting. To forgive means you release the individual who hurt you from any obligation to have to make it right. It suggests that you are going to seek justice and release elsewhere, particularly at the cross of Christ. And in the end, the power of forgiveness, though potentially significant for the one who hurt you, is most important for . . . well . . . you. Until forgiveness is given, that is, until you choose to release others from owing you something, you let them and the circumstances causing the wounds to continue to control you. Forgiveness may well free you more than anyone else.
That said, there is a story from Corrie Ten Boom about forgiveness. She had been in a concentration camp in World War II, and had experienced horrible atrocities at the hands of the Nazis. It was her faith in Jesus Christ that largely saw her through the ordeal. Years after the war, following a speaking engagement in Germany, a large line formed for well-wishers to greet her and thank her for her message. When she looked up to see who was next in line she saw standing before her the hulking figure of one of the Nazi guards from the concentration camp. She immediately froze, her heart skipped a beat, and a hidden hatred rose up within her. He, however, was standing there looking at her with contrite eyes, dressed not in a uniform but a comfortable suit. He understood that she recognized him, and, humbly reached out his hands and said, “Frauline, I have come to know the love and grace of Jesus Christ, and I know that I was wrong for all I did during the war. Would you please forgive me?”
Corrie Ten Boom wrestled with what to do, and, finally and quickly asked her Heavenly Father for the strength to forgive the man. “Father,” quietly prayed, “would you help me to love this man and forgive him,” and with that she reached out her hand and looked him in the eyes and offered him a verbal word of forgiveness.
The point of the story is quite simple. To forgive we might need to turn to the Lord for the strength and grace to do so. We’re human and we hurt, and some of us have hurts that are so incredibly deep that only God himself can appreciate it. As such, forgiveness does not come easily, and it is typical, superficial Christianese to believe that we can offer forgiveness so glibly. The fact is we need help, and our God wants very much to work through that process with us. And he certainly is willing to help you. Ask him for the strength. Ask him to help you love and forgive, even though the person who hurt you is so utterly unworthy. Remember that you need not trust that person, though be open to opportunities for that person to genuinely earn your trust. Remember that forgiveness is not about trusting, but about releasing, and that while the perpetrator may well benefit, the greatest beneficiary would be you.
Praying for you,
How do you forgive the unforgiveable? How do you forget the unforgettable? How do you begin to heal?
Jay . . . .
Let me assure you that I understand this anxiety. God willing we will be addressing these things as the sermon series progresses, particularly in the fourth and fifth sermons. In the meantime your question reminds me just how very important it is to ensure that concrete answers are given to this. Would you pray for me to unpack that well and responsibly?
Something I posted the other day has been a very helpful reminder for me. Perhaps it can be for you too, at least for right now. http://www.pastormatthew.net/blog09/?p=1479
You addressed two laws today (May 7th). From the first one you mentioned which leads to an empty existence and always wanting more to later find out you are still unfulfilled. How do you break the cycle when you are trapped in this law. What are some of the things a person can try? As always I know about keeping yourself immersed in the word, praying, being around your christian family. Sometimes this is not enough without knowing about some ways to break the psychological mind set. What are some practical things that a person can try, do, etc when they are in this cycle within the sexual realm? Will some of these be covered in the up coming sermons?
Since two of my granddaughters and their friends regularly sit under your teaching, I am so grateful you are bold enough to address this subject. You and the Bethel staff will be in my prayers. May Jesus be honored and lifted up.
Hi Carol . . .
No . . . it’s serious. We want to tackle some very timely issues from a solid biblical perspective. You can check out Bethel’s website (http://www.bethelfc.com/crazy-sex/)for more details about the sermons, information about the companion Bible studies for women, men and students and their families. And I would deeply appreciate your prayers. There is a lot of interest, and we’re very sobered by the responsibility.
Love to you guys . . . . .
Goooooooolly! WHAT A CLIFF HANGER. You Expect standing room only or no one at all? interesting. John wants to know if this is a church attendance ploy?