4) How are we blind today?
That’s been my prayer this week–Lord, show me my blindness, show us our corporate blindness, show Christians in America our collective blind spots. We all have blind spots. You have them. I have them. Every ethnicity has its blind spots. As a Korean American, I have blind spots that you may not, if you are from a different descent. This is one reason I believe that we ought to be color blind at our church. I am not talking about Ryan who can’t tell the color red from green, which makes for great entertainment when you are playing games like Monopoly Deal with him. By color blind, I mean we have to be multi-ethnic, not because it is a cool trend, but because having a mix of ethnicities in our membership as well as eventually in our leadership will help us in addressing our cultural blind spots.
So what are some blind spots as Christians living in America in the 21st century? God showed me a few things this past week, but I’d like to mention one at this time. How does our situation mirror the situation at Corinth? I think the most obvious link is in the area of sexual immorality. We live in a sex saturated society. I can’t even take my kids to the groceries without blushing because of all the magazines that are displayed in the checkout aisle. When I was growing up, there was no internet. In the early nineties, we barely had email. So much has changed in a couple of decades, which if you think about it, is a really short time in human history.
For the oldies here, remember the AOL days? Those modems sounded like jet engines during take-off. At nights, I would sneak downstairs on occasion to do things on the computer such as you know, reading my Bible online and I would have to block the sound holes of my computer with a pillow so that my parents wouldn’t wake up. That’s how loud the modem was. And the speed was 56 kbits/second. It would take a couple of minutes to download a single web page that had only text. Now we have 10 Mbytes/second or more piping into each of our homes and dorm rooms.
Has all that technology made us into better people? Let me just read a few stats that are quite troubling:
– every 30 minutes a porn film is made in the US
– every second, 30,000 people are viewing those sites
– 42.7% of internet users view those sites (102 million people)
– the US produces 89% of all pornographic web pages
– this is a $13 billion dollar industry – that amount is larger than the revenues of the top technology companies combined (microsoft, google, amazon, ebay, yahoo, apple, netflix to name a few)
– The word “sex” is the #1 topic for internet searches – 68 million daily search engine requests – and that’s 25% of the total worldwide search engine requests
– 2.5 billion daily emails (8% of total emails are sexual in content)
– the average age of initial exposure to pornography is age 11
– this is not just a male problem – 28% of visitors to these sites are female
Do you think we have a problem with sex? The answer I believe is rather obvious. I’d say we do. Back in the 1980s or earlier, at least you had to go to a liquor store or some shady place and go through the shame of buying a magazine. Now, everything is one mouse click away.
The saddest part is that Christians are just as prone to falling in this area as non-Christians. And because people fall into sin, there is so much looseness when it comes to sex. I hear professing Christians say all the time, what’s the big deal that my boyfriend is a non-Christian? I love him and he loves me. Isn’t that what matters? And because they are at an age when they are not yet mature spiritually and their hormones are raging, one thing leads to the next and you have boyfriends and girlfriends sleeping with each other. We are not that different from Corinth.
And what ends up happening is that you engage in these types of activities in your private life and then you come to church all cleaned up and smiling. The result: you end up living a double life and you keep a distance from the very people who might actually be able to help you.
You can continue living a double life and sear your conscience and eventually you will feel no guilt. Our conscience is a gift from God so that we would turn to Him and repent whenever we feel guilt, but repeated sin will harden hearts and render our consciences ineffective. But at least in the beginning, there is guilt. You feel guilty because you know whatever you are doing is not right. So what do you do in order to deal with the guilt? You justify it. Everybody looks at porn, right? Over 100 million people are viewing it. Why are you such a puritan? Everyone has sex. We are in the 21st century, not the 1950s.
It’s my private relationship with God that matters. God is cool with me. God forgives. God is not judgmental. I know he is holy. I know the God of the OT is scary. But when I read about Jesus, he is always smiling and embracing little children. He ministered among tax collectors and prostitutes. Surely, he forgives me. Don’t be so uptight. Our minds are quite clever. Without even realizing it, we employ subtle mental tactics and we can easily diminish our sins and justify our behavior. What the Corinthians did happens all the times in our lives. We adjust our theology to relieve ourselves of guilt.