Everyone in the waiting room was quiet. I think, or at least I hoped they were feeling sorry for me. He was screaming, yelling and looked as if he would resort to violence. He exclaimed; ‘what right have you to tell me how to live my life? Who made you judge and jury? What does it matter to you if I have sex with 50 or 500 men or women? This is my life and it is my right to do with my body as I want. You have the responsibility to treat me without asking me a lot of questions. So just do your job and leave the preaching and lectures to those other self-righteous SOB’s. And with that, he was gone.
The other patients noticed the sweat on my brow, but, because I was wearing a lab coat, they never noticed the perspiration under my arms. If they had taken my pulse it would have revealed my real stress level. They remained silent.
When it comes to sex, we almost all remain silent. I needed to remain silent. I needed to be swift to hear, slow to speak and of course give no place to wrath. The silent part is what is difficult for me. Silence has its place for sure but when it comes to sex, we need to speak.
We remain silent about the epidemic sweeping across this nation. The analysis published by CDC notes the severe human and economic burden of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States. The new estimates indicate that there are about 20 million new U.S. infections each year, half of which occur among the nation’s youth. Annually, there are more than 110 million STIs in the United States, which cost the health care system approximately $16 billion yearly in medical costs alone.
We remain silent. We are pummeled by the voices that tell us we have no right to speak about how people live. They have their rights regardless of the consequences to their health or the public health. We are averse to being criticized for being moralists and purists.
The Christian church is ridiculed for claiming moral high-ground. In fact this moral high-ground has been compromised since the advent of Christianity. The apostle Paul wrote about it to the church at Corinth when he noted that a man was living with his father’s wife and the church had done nothing to condemn this (1 Corinthians 5:1-8).
Sexual immorality was tolerated throughout Christendom, now even more prominently noted in the scandals rocking both the Catholic and Protestant denominations with rape of children and women. Part of the reticence to speak on these issues is the self-awareness that we have plenty of ‘mote’s in our own eyes’ as the Lord would say (Luke 6:41). Put another way, as Paul writes in Romans 1:32 when speaking on sexual immorality ‘Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which do such things are worthy of death not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.’
The American Christian church has tolerated and indulged in everything it has labeled as sexual sin and hence, its moral high-ground is quicksand. It cannot speak authoritatively on these issues as it stood by when men of ‘high moral Christian character’ raped the native and enslaved populations with impunity and went to worship God without ever having to recognize or repent of this evil.
We must discuss the issue as if it were any other public health issue. That takes away the judgemental attitude. Few, if any, deny the negative effects of cigarettes, heroin, cocaine, alcohol or other substance addictions. The magazines, radio, television and billboards display and discuss the deadly affect of these chemicals and the social consequences. But when it comes to sex, we remain silent, especially when it is within our own parishes and congregations.
We need to speak, but we must recognize that many of us have been guilty of the same sins of which now we find repulsive (1 Corinthians 6:11). This self awareness softens the rhetoric and allows us to be still in the face of heated criticism and vitriol that comes our way. We must remain silent when the world is shouting at us. Jesus suffered the accusations against Him without responding. But we must speak firmly and without reservation when the opportunity arises. Our firm commitment to what is right and righteous in our own lives will speak louder than the volume of our voices.
James 1:19 Tells us to be ‘swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath’.
Speak the truth in love.