Donna’s recent entries have shed some light on and created some good discussion around the problem of sexual temptation. Most of that discussion has been around the destructive power of lust–adultery of the heart. As destructive as that is, tragically, it doesn’t always stop there. Most of us have been touched by a friend or family member who has fallen to marital infidelity. Most of us think it could never happen to us, but then again, we didn’t think it would happen to those we have known who have wrecked their marriages this way, either.
I recently came across a compelling plea for Integrity in Ministry by Dr. Daniel Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, for those in ministry to consider their commitment living in such a way that not only would they not have opportunity to fall to sexual temptation, but that they would never be in a situation where they could be accused of it. Dr. Akin is speaking to pastors, but his advice applies just as well to any ambassador of Christ. Here is his main point…
And, the respect for those in ministry is at a low ebb, especially in our nation. Of course one major area of importance is how ministers conduct themselves with the opposite sex. I have always challenged fellow pastors to make a rock solid, non-negotiable commitment: “I will never be alone with a woman who is not my wife.” This commitment and conviction has not always been applauded. I have been accused of being a Pharisee, legalist, sexist and Neanderthal. I was once accused of having “psycho-sexual hang-ups in need of therapy!” But praise God and by His grace, I have never been accused of adultery because in almost 30 years of marriage, I have never been alone with a woman other than Charlotte. I have no plans to change this.
Sexual temptation is a powerful reality, and a wise person will never forget that no matter how much you love Jesus, “the wrong person plus the wrong place plus the wrong time will equal the wrong thing happening.” Look no further than to the tragic story of King David, a man the Bible says was after God’s own heart.
He goes on to endorse “The Commandments for Saddleback Staff,” (as recounted by Ed Stetzer) which read as follows…
- Thou shalt not go to lunch alone with the opposite sex.*
- Thou shalt not have the opposite sex pick you up or drive you places when it is just the two of you.*
- Thou shalt not kiss any attender of the opposite sex or show affection that could be questioned.*
- Thou shalt not visit the opposite sex alone at home.*
- Thou shalt not counsel the opposite sex alone at the office, and thou shalt not counsel the opposite sex more than once without that person’s mate. Refer them.
- Thou shalt not discuss detailed sexual problems with the opposite sex in counseling. Refer them.
- Thou shalt not discuss your marriage problems with an attender of the opposite sex.
- Thou shalt be careful in answering emails, instant messages, chatrooms, cards or letters from the opposite sex.
- Thou shalt make your co-worker your protective ally.
- Thou shalt pray for the integrity of other staff members.
[*The first four do not apply to unmarried staff.]
He closes with this…
These are wise words for any minister of any sex or age. These are principles that will help us in finishing the race well for King Jesus. Integrity as it relates to your sex life is not optional for the minister of the gospel. It is essential. Take the high road in this area. Be cautious and be careful. Stay close to Jesus and stay close to your mate. End your race with no regrets. It will glorify God, and you will be glad you did.
Never being alone with another woman is a high standard, and you might think it is unreasonable, but it would sure make falling to sexual sin a whole lot more difficult.
Many of the the “Commandments” above haven’t applied to me (counseling, etc.), but I have followed the basic idea behind them. For example, since I’ve been married, I’ve never had lunch alone with another woman. It can be a little awkward in some business situations to maintain a practice like this (since such standards seem old-fashioned and almost bizarre to the world today), but I think it has served me well. I encourage you to develop your own set of “Commandments.”