Is it wrong to judge a Pedophile?

Does the Bible forbid us as Christians from feeling “a burst of rage” when we hear about cases of pedophiles molesting, raping or killing children? Are we putting ourselves in the “Judge’s seat” when we feel such special anger and rage toward people who would do such things to children?

A Christian blogger calling herself “SeriouslyServing” answers both of these questions with a firm “YES”.  In her view Christians are forbidden from feeling a burst of rage or anger or feeling any differently toward cases of child molestation than any other sin.

In her post “Thank You, Lord, That I am Not Like This Paedophile” SeriouslyServing writes:

“Every time a news story breaks about a new case of child sexual abuse or a child porn user, a slew of people rush to the comments section to declare their thoughts about the criminal.

“Scum of the earth…”

“Bring back the death penalty…”

“Let him stay with the general population in prison, see how he likes that…”

In one sense, I can relate. Nothing sickens me more than the thought of people hurting and abusing children, especially since I’ve had kids of my own. At times, I’ve read details of these horrific cases and felt a burst of rage, and contemplated what justice might look like for that person.

So we put ourselves firmly in the seat of Judge, and we mete out what we would consider Justice. I have to laugh at the incongruity here, given one of the maxims of our day is “don’t judge”…

“Don’t judge” – unless the person you’re judging is a paedophile.

“Don’t judge” – unless it’s someone who is clearly way worse than you.

“Don’t judge” – unless it’s publicly acceptable to do so.”

To be clear, SeriouslyServing, is admitting she has struggled with reacting to the actions of pedophiles differently than any other sin.  The rest of the article is her telling herself and us why she thinks she was wrong for feeling that way and why we should feel wrong as well.

And just a note – the different spelling of “Paedophile” has to do with the fact that SeriouslyServing is using the British spelling of the word.  The American spelling is “pedophile” so that is what I am using.

SeriouslyServing bases her premise that we are wrong to feel a burst of rage or any differently about what pedophiles do to children on this passage from the Gospel of Luke:

“9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Luke 18:9-14 (KJV)

SeriouslyServing has completely misinterpreted the meaning of Christ’s parable that we have just read.  The emphasis was not on judging sin, but on a person, being self-righteous.

Christ said this in another part of the Gospels:

“When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Mark 2:17 (KJV)

Jesus was saying here that unless we see ourselves as sinners in need of the great physician which is Christ we cannot be saved.  This is the same message Christ was giving in Luke 18:9-14.  The Pharisee who thanked God “that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess” was showing God he did not see himself as a sinner before God.  He thought his good outweighed any bad he did and that his works made him righteous before God.

Luke 18:9-14 is actually a beautiful picture of what it takes for us to be saved.  I have used it many times in sharing the Gospel.  We cannot look at the good we do or compare ourselves to others and think because we do more good than some others that we are saved.  We cannot think that because we don’t do certain things others do that we are saved.  Each us must do what the Publican did and pray “God be merciful to me a sinner”.  This is the only way we can be saved.

Does God view all sins of equally?

Is it wrong for us to feel a special rage toward those who harm children or should we have no burst of rage or anger toward such sins and regard them as no different than someone getting a speeding ticket?

It is absolutely true that all sin condemns us to hell.

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned

Romans 5:12 (KJV)

Whether we sin little, or sin much the smallest sin will condemn us to hell.  But just because all sin equally condemns us to hell – this does not make all sin equally heinous before God.  The Scriptures show that God views some sins as more heinous than others.

When the Jews said that Jesus did his miracles by the power of Satan he said:

“31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”

Matthew 12:31-32 (KJV)

So, as we can see ascribing the miracles of God to Satan is something especially heinous to God and is set apart from other sins.

Jesus in speaking to Pilate said:

“Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

John 19:11 (KJV)

Christ was saying if Pilate sentenced him to death that would be a sin against God in that he would be sentencing an innocent man to death.  But the “greater sin” was committed by the Jewish leaders who handed him over to Pilate for death.  They were rejecting Christ as their Messiah and calling Jesus who was the sinless son of God a sinner worthy of death.  Theirs was truly the greater sin.

Again, in the New Testament Paul has a warning for those who are teachers of God’s Word:

“My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”

James 3:1 (KJV)

If a person sins because they have been wrongly taught that it is ok to do something they will still be judged by God.  But God judges the teachers who taught others to do such things with a greater condemnation than those who simply followed the wrong teaching.

Here we see God specially targets sexual sin:

“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”

1 Corinthians 6:18 (KJV)

So, as we can see from the Scriptures – all sins condemn us to hell but not all sins are judged equally by God. Some sins receive a greater condemnation than others.

Is it wrong to judge?

But what about judging? Doesn’t the Bible say we should never judge others sin?

A lot of Christians and non-Christians alike misunderstand what Christ said about judging below:

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

Matthew 7:1-5 (KJV)

If you look at the passage in its context Christ is condemning hypocritical judging, not all judging.  If we are doing the same things or worse things than what someone else is doing we have no business passing judgement on what they have done.

Besides hypocritical judging there is one other type of judging the Bible condemns as seen in the passage below:

“1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”

Romans 14:1-2 (KJV)

We are not to pass judgement on our brothers regarding disputable matters.  There are some things in which we must seek the Lord’s will for personal decisions in our lives.  As Christians we may come to different conclusions on some matters and we must do what we believe is right before the Lord based on searching the Scriptures and seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

So, as we have shown from the Scriptures God condemns two types of judging – hypocritical judging and judging on disputable matters or matters of conscience.

But we are in fact commanded to judge righteously as opposed to judging hypocritically or in matters of conscience as seen in the Scriptures below:

“Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

Leviticus 19:15 (KJV)

“Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”

Proverbs 31:9 (KJV)

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

John 7:24 (KJV)

Too many Christians and non-Christians alike believe that no one can say anything against their sin. They say “the Bible says judge not lest ye be judged!” But they are absolutely wrong in their assertions of what the Bible says.  The Bible tells us not judge unjustly.  It tells us not to judge hypocritically.  It tells us not judge in matters of conscience.  But where God speaks clearly and we are not guilty of such things ourselves we are commanded by God to “in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor”.

This means that Christians can and must speak out against things like murder (including the murder of the unborn) rape and fornication including one of the most wicked and heinous forms of fornication which is child molestation.

Is it always wrong to get angry?

Like in the matter of judging, many Christians and non-Christians alike believe the Bible condemns all forms of anger or hatred based on passages like this one below:

“43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Matthew 5:43-45 (KJV)

Was Christ condemning all forms of anger or hatred? The answer is no.  We can see from Christ himself that he acted in anger:

“13 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:

15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.

17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”

John 2:13–17 (KJV)

Like judging, not all anger is according to the Scriptures.   The New Testament tells there is a righteous form of anger:

“26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil.”

Ephesians 4:26-27 (KJV)

If we look back to the Old Testament we can understand what kind of anger is actually righteous in God’s sight:

“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.”

Psalm 97:10 (KJV)

“21 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”

Psalm 139:21-22 (KJV)

 

Many good men who had righteous anger toward wicked things that happen in our world have allowed their righteous anger to be turned into sinful bitterness and this is something we should always guard against in our lives as Christians.

However, there is a zeal, an anger or hatred for evil that is in fact righteous before God.  Christ demonstrated such righteous anger when he put a whip together and drove the money changers out of the temple.

So, if Christ was not condemning all forms of hatred in Matthew 5:43-45 what was he condemning? To find the answer to this question we must look to another of Christ’s statements later in the Gospel of Matthew:

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.”

Matthew 24:9 (KJV)

Christ was saying that if we are hated for being Christians we would should use that as a way to minister toward our spiritual enemies. We should love those who hate us for being Christians and show them the love of Christ.  But this was not a condemnation of us being angry at evil or hating evil acts against innocents.

Christ had a special hatred for those who would harm children

In the same way that Christ had a zeal for those would abuse his father’s house he also had a righteous hatred toward those who would harm children:

“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:1-6 (KJV)

Several times in the Gospels Christ told his disciples that in order to enter the Kingdom of heaven they needed to become as little children.  He was using children as a symbol of innocence.  Children are trusting.  Child place their dependence on others for their provision and protection.  Only if we humble ourselves as a child seeing ourselves in need of God’s forgiveness and grace can we be saved.

Christ then gives a stern warning against those who would offend (or harm or lead astray) one of these “little ones”.  He says it would be better for them to have a millstone hung around their neck and be cast into the see than to commit wickedness against one of these “little ones”.

This warning has multiple applications of course.  In its most literal sense as Christ holds a child in his arms he is talking about those who would commit wickedness against the innocence of a child. But he is also using this in the spiritual sense of those false teachers who would come along and lead believers astray with false doctrines.

Conclusion

We have demonstrated from the Scriptures some very important principles.

Luke 18:9-14 rather than being a condemnation of us being angered by the wickedness that others do is a condemnation of having a self-righteous attitude toward God in the matter of salvation.  We can only be saved when we see ourselves as wicked sinners and we must not think because we don’t do certain things or do certain things that this provides the justification for our salvation.

While Romans 5:12 shows us that all men have sinned and all sin equally condemns men to hell, other passages like John 19:11 and James 3:1 show us that there are in fact greater and lesser sins in God’s eyes.

On the subject of judging in the Scriptures we read that we are actually commanded to judge righteously (Leviticus 19:15 & John 7:24) while at the same time we are forbidden from judging from a place of hypocrisy (Matthew 7:1-5) or from judging other Christians in matters of conscious (Romans 14:1-2).

The Bible actually commands us to be angry at sin and hate evil acts (Ephesians 4:26-27, Psalm 97:10, Psalm 139:21-22).  Jesus Christ acted in zealous and righteous anger in whipping the money changers and driving them from the temple (John 2:13–17).  The Bible warns us against allowing our righteous anger to turn into bitterness.  Christ commands us to show love toward those who hate us for his name’s sake.

Finally, we showed that Christ did single out those who would commit wicked acts against the innocence of children.

So, we can rightly say using the principles that Christ laid out that it would be better for a man to have a large stone hung around his neck than for him to commit wicked acts against the innocence of a child.

It is absolutely true that God offers forgiveness, mercy and grace towards sinners including murders, rapists and yes even pedophiles. But God also commands us to judge from a righteous position these heinous acts.  Just because God offers forgiveness and grace does not mean he is not filled with anger and hatred toward such acts and he commands us to be “Be ye angry, and sin not”.

There is a reason that social workers, police officers and soldiers feel “a burst of rage” and a different kind of hatred when they find children having been abused, molested, raped or murdered. There is a reason that even the hardest of criminals feel this way toward pedophiles.  It is because children are one of God’s greatest symbols of innocence and when their innocence is violated in these heinous ways it should evoke a righteous anger and hatred in all of us, if it doesn’t that is the problem.

The Church, Women and Barbeques

Imagine that you had a neighbor that had barbeque parties all summer long in his backyard. You like to barbeque too. But there is a world of difference between what he gets to cook on his barbeque and what you get to cook on yours. He cooks steaks every weekend, but you can only afford hamburgers.

By now you have probably honed your hamburger making skills to a science. You make the best barbequed hamburgers for your wife and children. But hamburgers will never be steaks.

Your neighbor makes a lot more money than you. He gets the best cuts of steak every weekend to make for his wife and their friends. Every weekend as you cook in your backyard you can see those sizzling steaks. The aroma is intoxicating. You can imagine just sinking your teeth into one of those steaks and how awesome it would be.

But you never allow your thoughts to turn to covetousness toward your neighbor’s steak. Instead you thank God each week for the ability to buy and cook those hamburgers that you have down to a science.

But what if you allowed your thoughts about those steaks to go to a different place? What if you started to imagine scenarios where you could sneak over there in your neighbor’s yard and grab one of those steaks off the grill? He and his wife go in their house all the time to get things for their party, you could wait till their gone for a second and take one. Maybe you act on this thought, maybe you don’t. It does not matter – what you have just experienced is a covetous thought.

Do you see where imagination moves to covetousness? God created us as human beings with an imagination. God also gave us a natural desire for and pleasure from the sights, smell and taste of food. But our sin nature will take something that God intended for our pleasure (our imagination and the pleasure we get from the sights, smell and taste of food) and corrupt it into wicked and covetous thoughts.

Covetousness takes our God given desires and corrupts them into the desire to possess those things which he has not given us to possess. Covetousness then moves from the desire to possess into imagining in our mind ways we could take possession of that thing which does not belong to us. Covetousness does not require that we actually act on any imaginations of possession, even just the imaginations in this case become sinful.

The Bible tells us to enjoy the blessings God has given us in the book of Ecclesiastes:

“Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.” – Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 (KJV)

God tells us in his Word that it is “good and comely” to enjoy the gifts he has given us. Some of those gifts include food and drink, our jobs and houses. The old English word comely is a translation of the Hebrew word “Yapheh” which literally means “beautiful or handsome”. God literally finds it “good and beautiful” when we as his creations enjoy the many gifts he has bestowed upon us – and one of those gifts is our ability to imagine things and also our ability to enjoy the sights, smells and taste of our favorite foods.

So what do Steaks have to do with women and the Church?

Well let’s change up our story a bit. Sure you like steak. But you notice something even more attractive than the steak your neighbor is cooking and that is wife.

“That’s wrong! That is lust! That is totally different than enjoying the sight of your neighbor’s steak. She is person man! Get your mind out of the gutter! She is a person for whom Christ died, not some object for your sexual viewing pleasure!” – This would be the reaction from many Christians and even some non-Christians.

Let’s say you had one of your friends over with wife for a barbeque. Your wife and his wife are chatting away in the house while you and your friend stand around the barbeque chatting. Your friend mentions “Boy those steaks you neighbor has cooking look great!” and you reply “And so does his wife.” If your friend has been in a typical Christian Church for any length of time he might mention Matthew 5:28 to you.

“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:28 (KJV)

Your fellow Christian Brother might then point out to you “This verse means that if you look with lust on any woman you are not married to you are committing adultery in your heart. You see In Christianity, it’s the intentions, just as much as the actions that are important.”

Now many people think of lust in our modern English terms as having to do completely with sexual thoughts but in the Bible however lust is not always talking about sex. So if you were not a really inquisitive person you might leave it at that – take our modern definition of lust, apply it to that verse and from that point on whenever your neighbors’ wife comes in his back yard you would have to look the other way even though it is just as hard as trying to ignore the smell of those steaks sizzling on your neighbor’s grill.

But what if you were like the Bereans?

But what if you were like the Bereans and have searched the Scriptures on this subject of lust – you may have some questions and observations for your Christian brother.

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” – Acts 17:10-11 (KJV)

You see the Berean’s would look up everything the Apostle Paul was teaching them from the Old Testament about the coming of the Messiah and his plans for a time when the Gentiles and Jews would form a new body – the Church. They didn’t just take his Word for it – they checked the Scriptures to be sure.

Here are some observations that you could point out to your Christian brother.

Let’s look at Matthew 5:28 in with verse 27 to give it more context:

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28 (KJV)

The context of Christ’s discussion on lust was adultery. He first refers to the 7th commandment which forbids adultery.

The Biblical definition of adultery up to this point was when a man had sex with another’s man wife. The marital status of the man was irrelevant. In the Old Testament adultery was never a sin against a wife, it was always a sin against the husband of the other man’s wife(and of course it was sin against God as all sin is ultimately against God).

In the Gospels (Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:3-12, Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:18) Christ expanded on the definition of adultery to include when a man wrongfully divorces his wife. His putting her away wrongfully is a newly defined form adultery, as well as the fact that he causes her to commit physical adultery by marrying another man and that man commits adultery because he is taking a woman that is still another man’s wife in God’s eyes.

Going back to Matthew 5:28 Christ gives us another form of adultery – “mental adultery”. But really this was not a new sin, but simply a new label for a specific form of a sin that God had already spoke against in the 10th commandment:

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” – Exodus 20:17 (KJV)

So this new type of “adultery in the heart” or “mental adultery” refers to a specific form of covetousness – mainly to covet another man’s wife.

Even the Biblical definition of lust confirms this:

“for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” – Romans 7:7 (KJV)

God’s Gift of Sexuality

In addition to the gift of being able to enjoy the sights, smells and taste of food along with many other gifts God has given us – he has also given us one of two other gifts.

For a chosen few he has given them the gift of celibacy.

“For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.” – I Corinthians 7:7

Celibacy is a gift that is to be used in God’s service and not for one to purposefully and selfishly avoid God’s institution of marriage. The gift of celibacy is God’s ONLY exception to his command in Genesis 1:28 for man and woman to “be fruitful and multiply”, otherwise the rest of us are supposed to be getting married and having kids if it is possible for us to do so.

But the majority of us do not have the gift of celibacy, but rather God has given us the gift of our sexuality. This helps us to fulfill his command to be fruitful and multiply, but that is certainly not the only reason God gave us sex and he could have used a much different means of reproduction.

God has blessed both men and women with his gift of sexuality, but he distributes it differently to men then he does to women. For most women their sexual desire is more emotionally based and for men it is far more physically and visually based. So the way in which men and women experience the gift of God’s sexuality is very different.

“Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:” – Genesis 49:25 (KJV)

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.” – Song of Solomon 1:2 (KJV)

“This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes. I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;” – Song of Solomon 7:7-8 (KJV)

Breasts in the Scripture have a dual symbolism. In the context of a mother and her child they symbolize nourishment and comfort. In the context of sexuality they represent a woman’s body and the fact that it is a gift of God toward men.

The Scriptures are clear that sexual relations of any kind between a man and a woman are strictly reserved for marriage:

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

But while sexual relations between a man and woman are reserved for marriage alone, this does not mean our sexuality itself is reserved for marriage alone. In other words the focus of all one’s sexual thoughts and sexual energy does not have to be solely directed at one’s spouse.

The Bible does NOT forbid sexual fantasy and sexual imagination. Rather the Bible forbids sexual covetousness which is also referred to as adultery of the heart (mental adultery) or lust.

The Bible condemns sexual imagination that is evil, but not all sexual imagination. We are forbidden from imagining ourselves in sexual acts that are a violation of God’s design of sex. God designed heterosexual sex(sex between a man and a woman), but things like homosexual sex, orgies and bestiality are corruptions of God’s design for sex. Even thoughts of heterosexual sex can be become sinful if they become covetous imaginations(adulterous thoughts).

But aren’t all heterosexual thoughts outside of marriage sinful?

As we just stated God designed sexual relations between a man and woman to be ONLY within marriage.  Some people reason from this that even imaginations of heterosexual sex are reserved only for marriage and only about the person you are married to.  They would say that just as it is wrong to have homosexual imaginations or imaginations about bestiality it is equally wrong to have heterosexual thoughts about someone you are not married to.

But thoughts of heterosexual sex are not wrong in and of themselves.  God created us to desire and think about heterosexual sex – it is his gift to us. It is always the context of heterosexual thoughts that makes them right or wrong.

If you simply have an imaginative thought about what it would be like to have sex with a woman, regardless of if your are married to her or not – there is no sin that. 

It is only when you add more context to that thought where you are thinking of covetous ways that you would actually seduce such a woman(or pay her) to actually have sex with you that now your heterosexual imagination becomes a covetous and sinful thought.

So how does all this relate to our neighbor, his steaks and his wife?

What this means is that in the same way that God designed your brain to get enjoyment from the sights, smells and taste of food he also designed your brain to get pleasure from the sight of women(and not just your wife), the imaginations of heterosexual sex and the act of sexual relations itself. Again while the act of sexual relations is strictly to be within the bounds of marriage as we discussed earlier, the rest of your sexuality is not restricted to only your wife.

What this means for your neighbor, his steaks and his wife is that in the same way you could enjoy the sight of that steak on his grill you can freely enjoy the sight of his wife. Obviously you don’t want to gawk and be rude, but you receiving pleasure from tasteful glances of her beauty is as pure as the driven snow. You are enjoying the gift of sexuality that God has given you within the bounds of his law.

Even if you were to at some point later to have a sexual imagination while you are awake or a sleep it matters not as long as you are not thinking covetous sexual thoughts about her. That would be like fantasizing about befriending your neighbor’s wife (which usually starts with just neighborly talking, then leads to talking about more intimate things, then the flirting and eventually getting her into bed). That is a covetous sexual imagination, that is adultery of heart (mental adultery) and that is lust.

Applications of Biblical truths surrounding Lust

I have shown conclusive evidence from Scripture that lust as it is mentioned in Matthew 5:28 is referring to a specific form of covetousness, mainly to covet another man’s wife. Now certainly within the context of Scripture as a whole we understand all covetousness to be sinful which means it would also be wrong for a woman to covet another woman’s husband. Christ labeled this specific form covetousness as “adultery in the heart” or in other words “mental adultery”.

So what does this mean for Christian men when it comes to them enjoying the view of a woman whether she is right there before their eyes or the woman is simply an imagination whether that imagination is just in one’s head, or that imagination comes in the form of a moving picture set (a movie), a still picture or a painting?

It means that not all imagination is sin. In fact our ability to imagine, even outside the context of sexual imagination is a gift from God.   As long as we don’t sit with our heads in the clouds all the time to the neglect of our other responsibilities to our wife and children, our churches and jobs there is no sin in this.

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” – I Corinthians 6:12 (KJV)

That means if you are watching the Avengers movie and you are imagining how cool it would be to be in that Ironman suit saving the day there is no sin in that.

This means if you are watching a movie like Fury (a World War II movie) and you imagine yourself on that tank mowing down Nazis with that machine gun there is no sin in that.

It also means if you are watching a movie that has a beautiful woman in it having sex with a man and you imagine yourself having sex with her the way he is – again there is no sin this.

The reason this is not sin has to do with a statement we referenced earlier.

“In Christianity, it’s the intentions, just as much as the actions that are important.” So what are your intentions when you are imagining yourself in the position of that man on that moving image set (movie) having sex with that woman? Is your intention to go find out who the inspiration was for that image (the actress) and find her address and pay her to have sex with you?(fornication) Or is your intention only to enjoy the imagination of her and you have no covetous intentions towards her?

If you have no covetous imagination or intentions towards the actress that inspired that movie there is no sin in your imagination. It is a gift from God. These are pure thoughts as God has designed your mind to receive pleasure from thoughts of normal heterosexual between a man and woman.

Now if you spend all your time thinking about sex with that woman or other women or even your wife to the neglect of your other responsibilities than then you have violated the principle of I Corinthians 6:12 and have come “under the power” of your sexual imagination(this would be by definition sexual addiction).

Addressing the jealousy of wives toward their husbands

While jealousy certainly affects both men and women it does not mean men and women are equally jealous of the same things. For instance most men would not mind if their wife thought the actor Chris Hemsworth was attractive. In fact most men, unless they are taught to be jealous(like through church teaching or others), would not mind a bit if their wife got sexually excited by watching a Chris Hemsworth movie and she wanted to have sex with them.

However if you put a typical woman (not all women) in this same position she would have a very different reaction. If her husband were to watch a Megan Fox movie which made him want to have sex with her many women would be offended by the idea their husbands were thinking sexually of another woman.

In fact I have a Pastor friend of mine whose wife forbid him from watching anymore Transformer movies when she figured out that Megan Fox was putting him in the mood. Unlike some of my other Pastor friends, he has not able to break free of the Church’s incorrect teaching on what lust is and he felt his wife was right and that he was lusting after Megan Fox and he was in the wrong.

So the million dollar question here is which person is wrong? Is the husband wrong for having sexual imaginations about any other woman than his wife? Or is the wife wrong for being upset about her husband having sexual imaginations about women other than herself.

Biblically speaking jealousy is not always wrong. If something belongs to us then it would not necessarily be wrong for us to be jealous of that thing. God shows himself jealous toward his people because his people belong to him and they owe him their worship.

But does a man’s sexual imagination belong to his wife? Are all his thoughts regarding sex to be of her and her alone? The answer scripturally speaking is no. Therefore his thoughts and sexual imaginations are between him and God and as long as he does not allow his sinful nature to corrupt his natural sexual imagination there is no sin and his thoughts remain pure.

Because of this a woman has no right to be jealous of her husband’s sexual imaginations. This is in fact a sinful and selfish jealousy of her wanting to be the only woman he would ever think of sexually.

Some may try and point to this verse as saying a wife does have a right to compel all of her husband’s sexual imagination toward her:

“The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.” – I Corinthians 7:4 (KJV)

The “power” spoken of here is the power to have sexual access to your spouse’s body. A wife is to have sexual access to her husband’s body and as he is to be able to have sexual access to hers. This does not remove his headship (Ephesians 5) over her nor does it give her control of his thoughts or desires.

Another argument I hear often about jealous wives comes from people who oppose the Scriptures I have shown demonstrating that God allowed and condoned polygamy (more specifically polygyny) in the Bible. Their argument usually goes like this “polygamy never works because it always causes jealousy by women when their husbands take other wives”. What these same people never consider is –were those wives justified before God in being jealous of their husbands having other wives?

The answer Biblically speaking is no they were not right in being jealous of their husband’s other wives. We even see that God blessed a wife in Scripture for overcoming her jealousy of her husband and giving him another wife!

Leah was always jealous of Jacob’s affection toward his other wife Rachel. In truth God saw sin on both sides in Jacob not giving Leah the love she was due and God gave Leah children while leaving Rachel barren to prove his point to Jacob. But Leah at the same time was also wrong in her jealousy over Jacob. God stopped Leah from having any more children. Then she overcame her jealousy and gave her servant Zilpah to Jacob as another wife. God rewarded her for overcoming her jealousy and opened her womb again to give her another child.

“Then Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.” Genesis 30:18(NIV)

How many women today could have done such a thing and give their husbands another wife? Yet today in our post Roman culture (which eliminated polygamy from most of the western world) women will not even tolerate their husband’s thinking of another woman, yet alone would they give him another wife.

It is certainly something to ponder.

See these other related articles

How should Christian women respond their men looking at other women

What is Lust of the Eyes in I John 2:16

Was polygamy a sin God overlooked in the Old Testament?