Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! -- Psalms 139:23-24
Thursday, November 5, 2015
A few weeks ago, a pedophile wrote a piece on Salon admitting how much he struggles with his thoughts about children. I have not read all of his words, but I have read excerpts and commentary about it. His attempt at public confession has stirred sympathy in some and revulsion in others. I think revulsion is the proper response. Supposedly, if you can believe anything a pedophile might tell you, he has never acted on his thoughts or impulses. If that’s true then that is good as far as it goes.
If I were to speak one-on-one with this person, I would suggest that he change his thoughts. I’ve talked before about the difference between temptation and sin. That one is tempted to do something is not the same as doing it. Too, there is a difference between admiring and acknowledging beauty or someone’s possessions and temptation. For example, there is a huge gulf between a grown man thinking a fourteen-year-old girl is pretty and him raping the babysitter. There is a similar chasm between admiring how your sister looks in a bikini and committing incest. There’s a difference between thinking it would be nice to have a particular car and stealing the one your neighbor just bought.
Certain elements of society do not seem to be able to understand this very simple concept. Our actions start as thoughts. Yes, we all have natural, built-in biological drives for things like food and sex. On top of those basic drives, we have rules that have been inculcated by traditional wisdom. When our rules are based on the deeper truth and reality of our unique existence as humans, they are good and work well. Not all rules are equally truth-based; therefore, not all rules are equally good.
Some argue that our western, Christian view of homosexuality, pedophilia and other traditionally aberrant behaviors are “merely” cultural. This is true, but not merely. Cannibalism, human sacrifice, infanticide, suicide, genocide, and other practices have been acceptable at various times to various cultures. Our opposition to those kinds of behaviors is “merely” cultural as well. All cultures are less than perfect and probably corrupted to one degree or another. Some are much less perfect and much more corrupt than others. When someone says we need learn from one of those corrupt cultures, my reply is that we have. We learned not to do those things.
Apparently we have forgotten the lessons.
Western culture is not the Kingdom of God. It was, however, informed and shaped by the principles of the Kingdom to a greater degree than most any other culture. The current phase is not one of evolution and movement toward the Kingdom, but devolution and regression.
Personal deliverance and societal revival begin with rejecting the thoughts and impulses of the corrupted mind and the carnal nature. As long as we harbor and excuse thoughts that run contrary to the mind of Christ, we are enemies of God. Deviancy does not need acceptance and understanding.
Very few of us are overweight because someone chained us to a bed and force-fed us. We lose weight by, in essence, embracing hunger, being honest about and aware of what we are eating, and practicing self-denial. Part of that might be not thinking about cheesecake, chocolate, peanut butter, French fries, or whatever our weakness is. It might not be fair that some people seem to be able to eat whatever they want and not gain a pound, but anyone can learn to think about food intake and use a simple bathroom scale to achieve a caloric balance.
If he or she wants to.
Having bad thoughts is not an excuse to harbor bad thoughts.