Free Love without Commitment Is A Major Stumbling Block to Following JesusA couple of months ago, I began a series of posts on the cultural issues and attitudes that are making it difficult to move hearts and minds into Christianity today. One of the biggest stumbling blocks, in my humble opinion, is unfettered sex. Many in the US and the world today, believe that they have the right to enjoy sex with pretty much any one that is consenting to the sex, at any time, and for just a season. The "season" might be for just that moment without the slightest expectation of any future relationship.
I think sexual sin in the 21st Century is a much greater hindrance to Westerners taking the step of faith or returning to the faith than any other libertine behavior or philosophical block. There are definitely those who are using alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc., to fill the void in their lives, and feel they might have to give those up to accept Christ, but giving up sexual activity that is specifically prohibited in the Bible is almost certainly the big deal today.
The obvious issues are teens and young adults living together without being married and/or merely participating in sexual activity without any expectation of entering into a long term relationship. This is also true for homosexual relationships. The availability of marriage in some states for homosexual couples has not changed the reality that most homosexuals are not interested in long term, monogamous relationships.
The not so obvious group facing the issue are older couples living together or having promiscuous sex. As an older man who is just about to reenter the single life, I am faced with significant issues relating to getting married (over an above my daughter insisting the new wife can't be younger than her.)
Prenuptial agreements, something that young lovers would be hard pressed to bring up, assuming there was any reason to, become a serious issue in many marriages between those in middle age or beyond. If one half of the couple has significant income or assets and the other doesn't, there could be some tough choices to make.
Bigger issues revolve around spousal support and social security or other benefit payments. A new marriage can result in a significant loss of income from these sources, whereas many times cohabitation does not. Therefore the laws as currently written, and the interpretation of those laws by the courts commonly makes cohabitation a financial necessity for older couples.
The overall question is huge today. A pastor in my church mentioned that a couple in our church came to see him about an issue they were facing. In the course of the conversation it became clear that they were not married and they were living together. The pastor told them that maybe that issue needed to be addressed before getting on to the reason they had come. They responded "You people are actually serious about this marriage stuff."
There is no simple answer to what the church is facing today among its members and in dealing with those who might be inclined to make a decision for Jesus, but don't want to "give up" their lifestyle. While the church should certainly be "actually serious" about these issues, the direction in the culture is not good. So what are we to do?
Give your thoughts in the comments.