I usually do not make clarification based on comments for a couple of reasons. First, I know that those with an axe to grind are far more likely to post than those who agree, making the comments a skewed measure of what most think. Second, I assume that most who see something I did not say are reading through their own filters. I am not putting anyone down for that, as we all do it. I do it all the time, despite my best efforts to avoid it. Thing is it is all but impossible to change someone’s mind when they are filtering what you are saying.
That said, there have been many comments on a couple of recent posts, and enough people seem not to understand what I was saying that I probably should try to clarify. One fellow summed it up by saying he thought my advice for being a generous husband was to “have more women friends, and masturbate more.” I suggested he was not reading what I was writing and then another fellow said, “I think that’s kind of what most of us are getting from your writings…”, and then someone came to my defence. And so it goes.
So, one last attempt to say what I mean in a way that others can hear. If you do not care, come back tomorrow, or skip to the bottom where I am throwing out one more somewhat related issue that is bound to get me some negative comments. (My wife says it is a gift. I cannot find the receipt, so I cannot return it. Oh well.)
In an email I got about this, someone said they just did not think it wise to have a deep, intimate friendship with a woman other than one’s wife. I completely agree with this, but I got the feeling the gentleman writing to me thought I was all for such a relationship. As discussed in the comments, part of the confusion here is the word “friend”. Some use this word in a way that includes people I would call “acquaintances” while others seem to have assumed that I was talking about the full range of friendship from acquaintance to deeply intimate. I should have defined that at the start; could have saved a lot of trouble.
To me the word friend covers a wide group of people. I have casual friends, friends, good friends, close friends, and intimate friends. I do not have any female friends who are in the fifth category, nor do I think I ever will. I do not currently have any female friends in the fourth category, and when I did, they were also Lori’s close friend. I cannot say that is a hard and fast rule, but I doubt I would ever do otherwise. Bottom line: I have boundaries. By the way, I would never have a friendship with a woman if my wife felt uncomfortable with the relationship – period.
As to the idea of more female friends, my feeling is that most men need more and better/closer male friends. Given the limits on our time and energy, I would suggest working on the male friends.
I have never said men need to masturbate more. I think the vast majority of married men need to masturbate a great deal less. In fact, I think most should not be doing it at all. However, I cannot find any way to make it sin without doing harm to the integrity of God’s Word, and if it is not sin I am not qualified to say it is wrong. Additionally, if it is not sin, it might be acceptable in some situations.
Personally, I see masturbation as being like eating slugs and worms – if you are lost in the wilderness without food, it might be a good idea, but otherwise why would you do that? I have not masturbated in years – even when I am away from my bride long enough to feel a strong need. I could do it because I do not think it would be wrong and I know my wife would be fine with it; I just do not want to do it. Yeah, before marriage I thought it was great, but since I experienced real sex, with all of its depth, wonder, and blessing, masturbation does nothing for me. I do not understand men who masturbate when they have a wife willing to have sex – it completely baffles me. I wonder if those guys just have never experienced sex as God intended it. (No offence intended!)
Adultery is not a temptation for me. I know, I know, the man who says that is setting himself up, pride goes before the fall, and all of that. First, I am not saying I am without sin (far from it). Neither am I trying to put myself above anyone else. I am certainly tempted in many ways (I mentioned in a recent comment that if we had broadcast TV I doubt I would control my viewing time well). I am human; many things tempt me, and I sin far too often.
However, I know what tempts me and what does not. Having sex with another woman is not a temptation for me – never has been. Even when we had many problems, even when we had very little sex, I was not at all tempted. Some will say I am self-deceived, but I think God wants us to know ourselves and know where we are weak and where we are not. I think we can know where we are likely to be tempted so that we can take extra precautions, and also know where we are not going to be tempted.
Why am I unable to commit adultery? My best guess is because I understand the consequences, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they cannot be avoided. For me adultery it like cutting off my arm – beyond comprehension and certainly not something I could willingly do. Why this sin (and some others) is so clear to me when so many are not I do not know. I wish I were as clear on other sins, so I could be free of them as well.
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