I’ll occasionally disagree with Mez McConnell, but I’ve appreciated his writing since I stumbled on his blog a few months back. Yesterday he wrote about moral purity, particularly for men. I strongly encourage you to read it, and I’ll add a few comments here. Lord willing, I’ll return to my Bibliology posting tomorrow.
Mez mentioned Covenant Eyes (which our family uses). Personally, I believe every Christian man who has the Internet should use it or something similar. I don’t care if you aren’t tempted in that way. Your wife (or your future wife) will be thankful that you protected her by putting temptation protection in place. Others will have greater confidence in you as well, especially if you are in the ministry. One of the best ways to protect yourself and your reputation is to put in place something that will guarantee you get caught if you sin.
If you want people to trust you,
make sure they don’t have to.
If people know you will never be alone with a woman, never alone with kids, always have financial safeguards in place, etc, they will trust you in other things, too, because they will have confidence that you want purity.
The more people don’t have to trust you, the more they will trust you on those occasions when they need to.
The more they do have to trust you, the more opportunity for distrust to creep in.
More than anyone else, you need your wife to trust you, so use something like Covenant Eyes to make it easier for her to trust you in other things, too. The world and the devil will try to put doubts in her mind — make it easy for her to trust, and to resist the temptation to doubt.
I’m with Mez — I never counsel a woman alone. There is just no need to go that way.
I’m not going to re-create Mez’s post, but I’ll add some extra safeguards to the things he mentioned. If you didn’t read his post, go do that first, because I’m not saying the same thing he is. I’ll wait for you, I promise :).
- If I’m going to be in repeated long phone conversations with a woman, I’ll get my wife on the other phone and make her part of the conversation.
- If I have an email exchange with a woman in our church that goes beyond one email, my wife will see them. She pretty much always sees the single emails, too.
- When you are leaving a supermarket, usually you can walk close to the tabloids, or you can walk further from them. Plan your route, and do the latter.
- Plan where your eyes are going to go when you are in the shops. I know, when I go in to pay for my petrol, where not to look. Paying at the pump isn’t a bad idea when you have that option — there’s likely to be stuff inside that you are better off not seeing. But if you are in a shop, any of the shops, you’ll quickly learn where not to look — it’s the places you used to look first, when you weren’t concerned about purity.
- Don’t be stupid in what you watch on the telly. Stop and think about the way the stuff you watch is tempting you to think, and be honest about whether you really need to be watching it.
- Don’t be stupid about which newspaper you buy and read. The press is full of stuff that, even if it doesn’t have pictures, turns your thoughts in all the wrong directions. Check yourself for a week, and after each article you read, ask yourself, “What kind of thoughts did that article stir up in me? How do those thoughts fit with God’s Word?” Do the same with the pictures in that paper.
- Seriously consider opting out of most or all mass entertainment. Music, theatre, movies, telly, even a lot of sport, you are going to see and hear a lot of things that aren’t going to help you, and will send your thoughts in the wrong way. Don’t be stupid. You may enjoy the entertainment, but if it leads you down a path that destroys your marriage, it simply isn’t worth it. That goes for unmarried guys, too — you don’t want to mess up your future marriage by sin and wrong thinking just because you wanted some silly entertainment.
- For unmarried men, remember the Golden Rule. Perhaps next year that other guy will marry the girl you are with today, and you will marry the girl he is with today. Do today with his future wife only what you want him doing with your future wife. And if you end up marrying the girl you are with today, she will always appreciate the fact that you treated her with respect and honour.
- For married men, remember the Golden Rule. If you don’t want other men thinking about or treating your wife in a particular way, don’t think about other women that way.
- Our society treats immorality as entertainment, something to enjoy watching and talking about. That is totally perverse, and we should opt out of that kind of entertainment.
- Our society treats immorality as good. God calls it evil.
- Our society treats immorality as a joke. God calls it deadly (Proverbs 9:13-18).
“Flee fornication,” for you “are bought with a price.” The price that Christ paid to purchase me was enough to buy my body and my mind. As the hymn writer said, I am His, and He is mine.
If I am His,
I have no right to use my body and mind contrary to His will.
If He is mine,
I have no need to use my body and mind contrary to His will.
18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.