On Sunday after one of my classes, a student came up to me with a question. She had been told by a Christian counselor that masturbation was not a sin. She’d heard teaching on sex within the Church, but she’d never heard anyone address that specific issue. She just wanted to know if her counselor was right.
That makes my heart feel tense. I made her a commitment right then and there that I would write a blog post on the topic this week. (A commitment I’m regretting right now, because I’m already embarrassed that I wrote the word ‘masturbation.’)
Seriously though, why is it that basically every girl I talk to has struggled with the ‘m’ word but no one will say it? Why is it that 1/3 of all the folks who visit sexually explicit sites are women, but all of our illustrations are still about men? Why is it that almost 40% of the women who read Christianity Today struggle with porn, but I still have to title this blog the ‘m’ word because I feel so freaking weird typing the word ‘masturbation’?
Satan wants to keep us isolated and uncomfortable speaking clearly and openly about our struggles. He wants to convince women who struggle with lust that they are freaks.
Here’s the thought that made my heart tense up while my student was talking: what if women all across the world are engaging in sinful behavior because no one is willing to clarify that ‘sexual sin’ includes masturbation? What if there are women who are ignorantly selling themselves into slavery to sin right now because I’m too concerned with my reputation to type the word ‘masturbation’. Ick.
So, for those who want to know what the Bible says about the ‘M’ word. Here’s the answer: it’s sin. There are a million reasons why I say so that so emphatically; here are two:
1. Everything that is not from faith is sin. Paul makes it clear in Romans that every single detail of every single day that we don’t spend worshiping God is sin. We have to stop asking: is God against this, and start asking: is this the best way I can think of to honor God.
The Bible says that any thought, feeling or emotion that doesn’t flow out of a heart that is trusting in God and seeking to honor Him is sin.
If you want to know if the ‘m’ word falls in that category, just ask yourself this: is it an act of worship, flowing out of a mind fixed on eternity? Is it the best way you can think of to demonstrate that you trust and believe in God’s promises?
Does masturbation testify true things about God?
2. If we’re testifying lies about Christ, we are in sin. If we believe that marriage is designed to reflect the Covenant between Christ and the church, what are we displaying about that Covenant when we yield to the ‘m’ word? We’re the ‘church’ in this play. Do you we want to testify that the church doesn’t need Christ to be satisfied? That the church will take care of its own needs?
For 400 years the people of God lived in a period of waiting and longing. They wanted the Messiah. They wanted to see Him and be satisfied. They had a need that is far more essential than an orgasm, and they had no way to meet it. In singleness we get the opportunity to reflect that stage of life in the Church. Will we use this opportunity to testify true things about Christ and His bride?
He is worth the wait. He is worth the hunger.