By the Sunday I was feeling more human and up to moving around. So I managed the 3rd church session: “Mating”… the interesting part about the whole series was that in each evening service the numbers doubled. The last Sunday, for “Mating”, the 18h15 service reached a record number of attendants since the church was built: Around 800 people!
So sex really does sell, even in church!
The guy who spoke was a young guy in his early 30s, the husband of the lady who spoke the week before. He summed up the two points prior to him:
“What you do now will show up later” [Meeting] and “stop thinking about getting and start thinking about giving” [Dating]… “if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting”.
The core focus of his talk: “Sex affects you at a soul level”… I interpreted it as – every person you have sex with becomes sewn into your soul; so when you meet “The One you marry”, you’ll have to unpick the stitches in your soul, which will only leave a great deal of holes to heal (and the healing time required may not last the marriage…). Interestingly, to my knowledge, in the Old Testament, when you slept with someone, that meant you were married to them. It didn’t have anything to do with the contracts and paperwork that we have today.
The speaker bravely shared his story: he did a whole lot of ‘sowing the seeds’ from 17 to early twenties. He said it was all about his ego and impressing his mates and himself as to how many women he could ‘get’. He said it was about “proving himself to himself”. Even when he met some faith-practicing friends, he only became a ‘Christian atheist’; it turned out sex was an addiction that he couldn’t stop. He says he wrestled with God about it all, and I sat there relating to the ‘wrestling with God’ part… even if it was in the completely opposite manner as to this guy’s struggle. Then he said he hit a crossroad: “The Lordship of Christ” he called it. Being a ‘Christian atheist’ meant he was in control, but “The Lordship of Christ” meant that he shouldn’t be practicing ‘selective obedience’, he shouldn’t desire to ‘be in control’.
He said his crossroad was the decision: “God or me in charge”?
Obviously he was up there talking to a congregation, so he did choose God, but he said his sexual past created huge hassles in his marriage, which he had to fight through; yet his wife, who didn’t have a sexual past, didn’t have anything to struggle with, but his past. He said he regretted that he had created comparisons; he regretted that his struggles had become hers; that he had messed with her future through his choices. He learnt the hard way (no pun intended) that sex connects far deeper than just on the outside, that his lifestyle choices had hurt him more than he knew, and that he had done it to himself. He said he realised at the end of a difficult journey that “self-control begets true freedom”.
He ran through some cultural myths about sex, e.g.: 1) ‘Abstinence is old fashioned’, when actually it is quite a new thing. Read the Old Testament to see how bad prostitution, rape, male dominance, fornication and all the rest were. I’m sure most people have heard of Sodom. That’s from the Bible. 2) ‘Practice makes perfect’, no: “Romance is exclusivity, not practice”. You are training yourself to be the future you, and if that is practicing sleeping around, then that will probably train you up for promiscuity, which trains up for a failed marriage.
He advised taking another perspective: “A little ‘sacrifice’, creates a lot of gain, as the ‘sacrifice’ is actually an investment”, you are building a future where you will win. He suggested that people: “Choose a better story”, not a perfect one, but one without regrets. One where you have already learnt self-control, before you say: “I do”. One where you are already serving your other half before you have even met them, because you know they are worth it…