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THE QUESTION WAS ASKED
Is masturbation a hedge against temptation? Is it sinful? Post scripture relating to this please. ….my brain is whirling all over the place. – Joy B.
Hello Joy, I have evolved away from counseling based on a specific scripture because I have learned enough about human nature and the corruption of religion including what was and was not put in religious books to know the difference between outdated doctrine and the living word which does not come from a book, but by the spirit within.
With that said, in relation to your question, we can use any and all history, include our own fellowship through personal testimonies as well as Bible text to assist us in settling our hearts on different matters. But also understand that for whom some things are a sin, let it be a sin to them. For example, for a recovering alcoholic, all alcohol must be a sin for them to remain clean. But for someone for whom alcoholism is not an issue, to call it a sin for them to drink without them getting drunk is being legalistic. So even though it is fine to share what we have come to understand to be right for our own personal faith walk, we have to be careful trying to “standardize sin” into a one size fits all doctrine. It usually ends up in an accusing and guilt tripping relationship between people that is not edifying even if people mean well.
If you recall the story when Jesus came upon the woman accused of adultery who was about to be stoned, it is commonly taught that he said “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” The original translation is even more remarkable in that Jesus actually said “Let any of you who has never committed THIS SIN cast the first stone.” And not a single person did.
Now how profound is that? What each person discovered within their own hearts is that lust dwells within the very nature of man. It manifests within our thoughts and expresses itself in our deeds. Lust, in and of itself, is not evil. It is common in relationships to entice each other through lust. And how you do that as a couple is nobody’s business. What the story of the adulterer really revealed was that all sin begins with thoughts that can evolve into an unhealthy desire in a direction that, once we know is not right, is spiritually damaging even if the physical deed is not done.
How does this all tie in to your question? Well, let’s take it one step at a time. On principle, is masturbation in and of itself a sin? No. Can it be a hedge against temptation? Yes. But can it also be a driver of temptation? Also yes. How do you know the difference? Well that depends on who or what the subject of your masturbation is about. In the story of the woman Jesus saved from being stoned, the reason that nobody could throw a rock is because they were all guilty of lusting after people they didn’t love without regard to their relationship status. Every time we eyeball someone attractive and drool in our minds we are guilty of it. Do I lose any sleep over it? No. Because as I have matured, I have grown in my understanding of intimacy enough to not let my head get so easily turned.
Trust your spirit to guide your conscience and understand that living is about growing. You can’t get fixated on one area and think you are “being sinful” but it is always good to check yourself and ask if any one area is harder to manage to the point where you could act upon a weakness. And if acting upon that weakness could lead to something that is spiritually harmful to your life, it is best to occupy your mind elsewhere. I have never felt guilty masturbating about someone for whom I have honest feelings for and who is also available. Physical desire is a natural expression of emotion. Of course the younger you are, the more likely it tends to be only about physical desire.
In my experience, where masturbation becomes dangerous is when it escalates and sustains desires toward someone you have no moral justification to ever be with that way. It ramps things up to the point where if given the opportunity, you will involve yourself with a situation unhealthy to your spirit. Only the individual knows when this is true. Have I been guilty of this myself? Of course. But when these thoughts burn you enough times, you learn.
Some things don’t need to be bible thumped over your head. When Peter said to Jesus “thou art the Christ, Son of the living God” Jesus replied “Blessed are you Simon Barjona (little rock) for flesh and blood could not have revealed this to you… and upon this rock (meaning the truth that has just been revealed by your answer) I will build my church.” Jesus wasn’t talking about HIMSELF. He was talking about the principle upon which his living was based- and that was to replace religion and preachers and holy books, with the indwelling of a “Holy Spirit” that can guide individuals to the truths of living a better life.
And that is the real reason why Jesus was a threat. It is like me discovering a way to let cars go a million miles on a gallon of gas. The oil companies would send someone to kill me before they lost everything. Just like the story of the Emperor of China having just seen the completion of the Great Wall which took many lifetimes to fulfil, saw a man flying through the air attached to a kite. He ordered his men to find the man and bring him before the throne. He marvelled at the invention and praised the man- just before he executed him and destroyed the kite.
The man’s invention was a threat hundreds of years of work on the Great Wall because enemies could easily use it to fly over. Likewise Jesus was a threat to the industry of man made religion so he was killed and replaced by a religion and a book that man could use to control. Even so, we can still use the principles of what is revealed to learn from what people call the bible, but Jesus didn’t die for the Christianity of the Bible. The solid rock is not Jesus, but of the truth revealed in the exchange between he and Peter, that flesh and blood neither in the form of sacrifice or intercessors (preachers) is no longer needed for you to withstand the gates of hell.
Your question, in and of itself, only proves that the spirit is alive and well and working in your life. As James writes in his epistle “So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”