Scripture: 1Thessalonians 4:3-7; Judges 19:22-30
During the season of Lent, we are doing a sermon series called Seven, where each week we are examining one of the seven deadly sins and pairing it with its counterpart found among the seven cardinal virtues. Last week we talked about greed and charity. This Sunday we are talking about the deadly sin of lust and the cardinal virtue of chastity.
We don’t use the word lust too often in our culture, but when we do, it is often used synonymously with sexual desire. Generally, we experience lust predominately when we’re younger through our teens and our 20’s. The problem with being young is that your sexual drive is connected with your physical growth. The reason why you grow so substantially during your teens and early 20s is because your body is coursing with high levels of growth hormones (testosterone, estrogen, etc). Unfortunately, those same growth hormones are responsible for creating our sexual impulses, which, when you’re in your teens and early 20’s, can feel so overpowering that it’s all you think about.
For the better part of 10,000 years, human society has been in sync with these impulses. Generally speaking, if you lived in a tribal society, you would be married at the age of 13 or 14. From the perspective of our modern sentiments, that feels way too young for people to get married. At 13 and 14, you're mentally and emotionally still a child. But these ancient societies understood that you’re physically ready to engage in sexual activity, which was necessary because the average life expectancy was around 30 years of age.
It’s only in the last 150 years that our society has changed dramatically in our attitudes towards sexuality. Obviously this shift has occurred because we’re not dealing with the same circumstances. Thanks to modern medicine, our life expectancy is now around 78 years. And because of this longevity, there is no longer the pressing need for people to get married young and have children immediately. In fact, the average age of marriage in the United States is 27 for women and 29 for men, with 24% of women waiting to have their first child in their 30s.
Of course, none of this changes the fact that your sexual impulses still come online between the ages of 12 and 14. Biologically, we’re still the same as we were 10,000 years ago. The difference is that it is no longer socially acceptable for a 13 year old to become sexually active. Generally speaking, most adults tend to agree that it is socially acceptable for a person to express themselves sexually once they are in college or above the age of 18. But what is a person supposed to do during that in-between time, from the ages of 12-18, when your sexual impulses are at their strongest? Well, in the past, the answer was, you just deal with it. But today, thanks to the internet, teenagers deal with their sexual impulses by viewing pornography.
This Sunday we are going to explore how this shift by the younger generation is one of the many factors contributing to a rise in rapes on college campuses. This is an important topic that is having a major impact on our world today. This topic comes with a PG-13 rating, so just be prepared because we are going to be delving into details that may not be appropriate for young children. I hope to see you on Sunday!