From the Complex to the Simple

math_equationsSeveral years ago, I noticed that God’s ways tend to be simple while the World’s ways are complex. For example, God’s position on sex is that it is reserved for marriage, which is simple (not necessarily easy, but simple): If you are married to the person, sex should happen. If you are not married to the person, sex is forbidden. This standard is very simple to keep because a Christian should only have sex with his or her spouse. There’s no ambiguity about sexual relations under God’s command: If you are not married to the person, do not have sex with him or her.

The World’s position on sex is much more complex, stating it’s all relative. For one person, sex is permissible after engagement … for another, when the parties are in love … for another, as long as they are two consenting adults. This leads to many layers of complication, from unplanned pregnancies to sexually transmitted to diseases to walks of shame … single parenthood … sexual harassment accusations … and even rape.

About a year ago, I read a news article about where to draw the line of consensual sex versus rape. A man and woman were engaging in consensual sex when the man became too “rough.” The woman tried to withdraw her consent at this point, which the man did not do, and she sought to file rape charges. The law in that state did not permit a withdrawal of consent that far into an up-until-that-point consensual sexual encounter, and this woman wanted to change the law, stating that what had happened to her was rape. As I read the article, I thought about how following God’s instruction to reserve sex for marriage prevents very complicated situations like this one from arising. While the World might see reserving sex for marriage as restrictive, it actually provides freedom from all of these complications.

While I made this observation about God’s ways being simple and the World’s ways being complex a long time ago, I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on why this is the case. Dietrich Bonhoeffer provided me the answer in his book, Discipleship, which I will share in my next blog entry.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace trying to do complicated math. Courtesy Bitmoji.]