How To Work Through Sexual Temptation
“The one who sins is the one who dies. The son shall not be punished for his father’s sins, nor the father for his son’s. The righteous person will be rewarded for his own goodness and the wicked person for his wickedness” (Ezekiel 18:20, LB).
All he wanted to do was to burglarize the apartment he had broken into, so he told the court, but when he saw the sleeping victim who had shed most of her clothing on that warm summer evening, he said that he was unable to control himself. When he was arrested and brought to court, he explained that he was suffering from a thyroid illness which made him lose control of his passions; therefore, he argued, he was not responsible. The court, however, didn’t buy that line of reasoning and found him guilty of both rape and burglary.
Courts have heard a lot of stupid explanations, among which the most grievous is the argument, “I couldn’t help it!” There is a wide-spread myth that men are wired with different voltage, and because of their sexual natures, they can’t really control themselves, that to honor their vows made at a marriage altar is something which is physically beyond themselves. This argument makes women the real provocateurs who are responsible because they are so attractive. I think Adam reflected that mentality as he told God, “She took of the fruit and I did eat it…Yes, God, it was her fault.”
True, men and women are different, much different. They think differently; they act differently; they are driven by different stimuli. While men think they understand women, they really don’t. They presume that women think, act, and respond as they do. Not so! But the issue still has to be confronted, are men responsible? Or is it really true, at some point they have to be excused because they can’t help themselves, and to hold someone responsible for what he can’t help, just isn’t fair.
While women are more verbal than men, men are pretty good at convincing women that they can’t help it when they are tempted. A father sat in my office, confronted by his daughters, whose anger over how he had disregarded vows made to their mother made the whole atmosphere pretty warm. Parrying their accusations he countered, “Your mother should have known that I was a male and that I had the responsibility of entertaining other women in business. They expected it.”
Are men animals on the level of street dogs? Or–and this is where the premise changes quickly–are they created in the image of God with a knowledge of right and wrong? Do they think, reason, choose and then bear the consequences of their choices? No court in any land can be convinced that a rapist can’t help himself because that’s the way he is, or that a thief should be excused because he has bad genes, or that a murderer should be set free because his victim made him angry.
God says that you are responsible, that you make choices and should face their consequences. Upon that premise, all civilizations base their laws and apart from this, no woman, no daughter, no child would be safe from those who excuse their behavior on the basis of genetics.
The thief- turned-rapist will have eight years in prison to rethink accountability, but more than a few men will have a lifetime of regrets, having winked at their marriage vows, because a wife, unconvinced, will have closed and locked the door of her heart forever. “Abstain from all appearance of evil,” Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. The best way to avoid temptation is to refuse to allow yourself to be where you know you will be tempted. But above all, remember what you have to lose in exchange for a few moments of passion. Some things are never, ever worth the price you pay. Think about it.
Resource reading: 2 Samuel 11:1-27