The Ruins of Sexual Mistakes

October 24th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 6: 30-35 (NLT)

 30 Excuses might be found for a thief
      who steals because he is starving.
 31 But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole,
      even if he has to sell everything in his house.
 32 But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool,
      for he destroys himself.
 33 He will be wounded and disgraced.
      His shame will never be erased.
 34 For the woman’s jealous husband will be furious,
      and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
 35 He will accept no compensation,
      nor be satisfied with a payoff of any size.

 

Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

The meetings in my office have been innumerable.  The frustration cannot be measured.  The late night conversations on the phone are more than I can count.  “Pastor John, I just can’t make it!  I’ve ruined my chances at purity.  I’ve ruined my future marriage.  I’m ruined.”

Ruins are fascinating things.  The day after Laura and I were married, we drove to Atlanta and boarded an airplane bound for Cancun, Mexico.  Words cannot express the majestic beauty of the resort where we spent the next seven days of our lives.  The Moon Palace resort had over two-thousand rooms, each equipped with Jacuzzis and balconies with breathtaking views of the ocean.  The resort had ten restaurants on-site.  From Thai to Chinese to Spanish to seafood, each eating experience we were offered was a culinary masterpiece . . . and the best part was that it was totally free.  The pool was over four-acres in size and was equipped with swim-up beverage areas where you could order refreshments and continue the relaxation in utter vacation bliss.

Each of these features were absolutely amazing, but I’ll never forget the day that Laura and I loaded ourselves in the resort shuttle van and headed for a visit to the ancient Mayan ruins of the city of Tulum.  We climbed the mountain that led to this deserted city and walked through the streets where Mayan children used to play.  We saw the buildings that housed their residences and we learned about their culture.  As a history guy, I was captivated.

However, one thing in particular piqued my interest and left a lasting impression on me.  It was the temple at Tulum.  Tulum borders an incredibly steep bluff that drops off into the sea.  The temple overlooks this bluff.  The guide told us something, though, that absolutely blew my mind.  If you look closely, there is a coral reef that runs parallel to the ridge of the city’s edge.  The location of Tulum was chosen by the ancient Mayans because the steep bluff was virtually impenetrable by invaders.  But in addition to that, enemy ships couldn’t even get soldiers to that cliff because their boats would crash into the reef.  Tulum was secure from outside attackers because of this reef.

But, there was one solitary access point through the reef.  Amazingly, the citizens of Tulum had cut away an entrance through the reef that lay exactly perpendicular to the temple on top of the mountain.  The width of the reef entrance was identical to the width of the temple.  In other words, only those who had the knowledge to sail straight towards the temple could enter safely. 

Which brings me back to this passage and to the huge number of individuals who feel that their futures are ruined because of their past sexual mistakes.  When Proverbs says that our “shame will never be erased,” it’s no wonder that we might feel hopeless.  But one fact is important about this passage: Solomon was writing to his son in a different time before Jesus had come to earth as a man.  Because Jesus had not yet died for the sins of humanity, the concept of complete and total forgiveness and restoration as we know it now was foreign to Solomon.  The principles of this passage are true, but the season of forgiveness is different.  So, to those who have made detrimental decisions in the area of purity, there is forgiveness and there is restoration. 

That doesn’t mean that we should overlook the devastating results of sexual sin.  Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we don’t have to face earthly consequences; it means that we are declared innocent and that God’s Spirit is working in us to restore that which has been destroyed.  The process may be painful at times, but we are promised entry to God’s best for our lives if we will continue to walk the path of relationship with Him.  Just like those who wanted to experience the priceless treasures of Tulum, we have to know where the sacred entry point is.  We must align ourselves with God’s forgiveness and sail ahead. 

So, if you’re one of those who feel that you can never gain access to the treasures of the right marriage, a pure mind, or freedom from your past, raise your sails and head straight towards the temple of God’s forgiveness.  Don’t listen to the voice of the enemy who screams in your ear that all is lost. 

Lastly, I can only imagine the cost that some Mayans must have paid to clear away that section of the coral reef.  With no scuba gear or oxygen tanks, the work was no doubt deadly.  In like manner, Jesus laid down His own life to give us access to forgiveness.  When you don’t feel worthy . . . you’re right!  Your worthiness is not the condition of your access; His work on the reef is.

So we don’t have to feel that our lives are ruined because thousands of years later when those Mayan families no longer live in Tulum, the coral entrance still remains. 

So does our access to His grace.  Happy sailing.

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~ by johndriver on October 24, 2008.

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