Sex and the Pinball Principle

October 23rd, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 6: 24-29 (NLT)

 24 It will keep you from the immoral woman,
      from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman.
 25 Don’t lust for her beauty.
      Don’t let her coy glances seduce you.
 26 For a prostitute will bring you to poverty,
      but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life.
 27 Can a man scoop a flame into his lap
      and not have his clothes catch on fire?
 28 Can he walk on hot coals
      and not blister his feet?
 29 So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife.
      He who embraces her will not go unpunished.

 

Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

When I was a little boy, my family took a vacation every summer to Gulf Shores, Alabama.  Some of the fondest memories of my childhood took place at the Gulf Shores Plantation.  Walks on the beach with my Dad.  Lazy days by the pool.  The occasional week-long summer romance (which usually consisted of hanging out and playing cards with about five other people . . . I was quite the romantic.)  Those times at the beach with my family shaped much of my childhood development.

One of the features of the condos that we stayed at was an indoor pool with a skylit, domed roof.  Next to the pool was a little souvenir and snack shop, and adjacent to it was a small arcade.  Now to a ten-year old boy, the combination of a beach, a pool, a snack shop, and an arcade was nothing less than blissful adolescent nirvana.  There were two games that my brother and I would play in that arcade.  One was Galaga.  Now I don’t like to brag (yeah right), but I dominated Galaga.  I should have dominated . . . I probably dropped enough quarters in that machine to fully fund my college education.  Furthermore, the combination of the wet quarters in my swimming trunk pockets and the metal slot of the video game console would send quite the exhilarating electrical current through my little body.  Like a Pavlovian dog, with each shock I would continue to play.

The other game was a pinball machine.  Ah, pinball!  With all of the amazing technological advances of today’s gaming world . . . from the Wii to Guitar Hero to Halo to advances in virtual reality . . . it’s still hard to beat a good, old fashioned pinball machine.  Pinball is a game of action and reaction.  When one shoots the ball into the machine, a plethora of possibilities present themselves each dependent upon the speed and timing of the paddles on the side.

It’s about decision and counter-decision.  If you shoot the ball up the left side of the machine, you can often expect it to come back around the right; thus, you must be prepared to hit the right paddle when it comes.  Action.  Reaction.  Consequence.  That’s the nature of pinball.

That’s also the nature of life; it’s pinball-esque.  We all hit the paddles of decision and action and then wait for the reaction of what life throws back at us.  In the end, though, we are responsible for the way we “hit the ball.”  If we start the game, we must continue to play it.

Purity is much the same way.  We must be aware of the nature of consequences when dealing with matters of dating or sex.  Sex again?  Goodness gracious!  It seems like every other verse in Proverbs is about sex or issues of purity. Hmmm, I wonder why that is?  Let’s see, if Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived and he felt it necessary when talking to his own son to go on and on about sexual purity, then perhaps we should take note.  Sometimes, the frequency of a word is as important as it’s meaning.  You know, like your friend who constantly jokes about something so much that eventually you realize that he may not be joking? Yeah, I think that Solomon was trying to make a point.  Consequently, in the coming weeks, there will be many more verses that deal with this issue.

As usual, realize that even though only “immoral” women are referenced here, these principles equally apply to men and women alike.  In this case, Solomon was speaking to his son; hence all the female references.  In his discourse, he discusses several different types of sexual immorality.  One of these is what we would refer to as “fornication.”  Simply defined, fornication is having sex with someone outside of marriage.  The other reference is to “adultery”, which is sex with someone who is not your spouse.  Yeah, both have tragic consequences.

Consequences seem to be Solomon’s focus in this passage.  You can almost hear the pleading of a father with his son.  Using logic, Solomon appeals to common sense.  “Don’t be crazy!  If you do one thing, other things happen as a result.  It would be foolish to think that actions don’t have consequences that follow them.”  

We live in a world where many people seem oblivious to the concept of consequences.  If you speed, you get tickets (or so I hear).  If you don’t study, you make bad grades.  If you mess around with sexual immorality, you get burned.  Burned is the illustration Solomon uses brilliantly.  “Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire?  Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet?”  In other words, you can’t mess around with fire and not get burned.  It’s the pinball principle; what you send into the pinball machine will come back at you with equal or greater force.

So be careful which games you play when it comes to purity and realize that each move you make has its own consequence.  Yeah, just stick with Galaga.

 

 

 

 

 

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~ by johndriver on October 23, 2008.

2 Responses to “Sex and the Pinball Principle”

  1. first of all i love the concept of the pinball machine, that for every action there’s a reaction to follow, which is oh so true in this day and age. also when solomon says a man can not expect to put hot coals on his lap and not catch on fire is a pretty cool concept, that you can’t mess around or you ARE going to get burned even if you think you won’t, because for every action there’s a reaction and in this case the reaction is usually alot worse than what people would like it to be.

  2. “If you do one thing, other things happen as a result.” Wow. It does not get much simpler than that! Soloman sounds like a pretty cool guy to be around back then! He really did have A LOT of wisdom. What many people do not realize about consequences is that it affects the people around them too, not just to them. Yes, consequces are not always life altering, but to some degree they are never good. It bothers me the most to know that if I do mess up, that other people will be affected by it. Not cool. This concept definitely applies to our purity. It’s like Soloman said, “You can’t play with coals and not expect to get burned.” We have to think before we actually do. If you can’t figure out how to think about it clearly, then you pray. When we pray God will first of all provide the strength to steer away from the bad road, and from that experience we will gain more of his wisdom. I’m guessing Soloman did this a lot! 🙂

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