There’s been a lot of anticipation surrounding the newest Star Wars film, which came out this past weekend. There is little doubt that the hype has overshadowed some other recent releases. One film in particular that caught my attention was Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq” which is an adaptation of the Greek myth, Lysistrata. If you’re not familiar with Lysistrata it’s about a woman who persuades other women to withhold sex from men in order to put an end to the Peloponnesian War. In his movie, Lee posits the same strategy when it comes to gun violence in America.
Full disclosure, I haven’t seen the film, and judging from the preview it doesn’t look like wholesome family entertainment, but the plot does present a provoking thought. Sex is one of the strongest forces in human nature. God created people with strong desires for sex, in large part to encourage procreation (Genesis 1:28). The engine of sexual desire is so powerful that it often runs people off the tracks. Men (and, yes, often males) have found plenty of ways to distort true sexual happiness into twisted forms like: pornography, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and others. Everyday, tons of people make horrible choices regarding sex which they end up regretting, sometimes for the rest of their lives. Even the strongest Christians falter and fail when it comes to sexual sins. The temptations of these sins are so powerful that the Lord’s simple advice is just to run away from the very thoughts (2 Timothy 2:22).
If ever there was a time in history when sexual desires ruled, it would be today. An improper use of sex is at the core of our nation’s greatest ailments. A few examples: The majority of abortions happen as a result of people who want the pleasure of sex without the commitment, responsibility, and maturity that it requires. The spread of AIDS is largely due to casual sex. Divorces often happen because of sexual problems leading to subsequent brokenness in families. A broken family can lead to a whole host of others hardships.
The sexual desires behind these problems are so strong that most people have given up trying to curb them. Kids are now encouraged to use condoms, not to wait for marriage. Just about every popular television show or movie romanticizes a sinful use of sex. We literally could end the spread of the AIDS virus, but people just can’t, or won’t, say no. Instead, they want a medical cure so that they can continue having loose sex without physical consequences. According to a CDC study from 2014, 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases are reported each year in America, and that’s only the ones actually reported. STDs also contribute to $16 billion annually in medical expenses.
On-demand abortion has been legal since 1973, accounting for the greatest loss of American life – 57 million and counting each day. To give you some perspective, that’s roughly 56 million more than the combined combat deaths of American soldiers since 1776. Think of that next time you see the rows upon rows of tombstones at a military cemetery. To salve their consciences, abortion supporters have twisted logic around to say they’re really fighting for women’s health. Please tell me when greater death ever led to better health, wellness, life, or whatever you want to call it? Others have chosen to call the baby a “fetus” in order to distance themselves from its humanity, even though modern technology shows that life exists from conception.
How do people believe such outrageous lies? Answer: the power of sex. Wherever strong desires exist people will find ways to weasel around the truth. Now there’s nothing wrong with supporting AIDS medical research, providing healthcare for those who suffer from STDS, or speaking out against gun violence. But it’s hypocritical, and ultimately self-defeating, to do so while leaving loopholes for the sinful actions and lifestyles that are perpetuating the issues. Whatever semblance of morality exists under such a platform is quickly found to be hollow when the core problem of sin is continually ignored or excused.
So, could Lee’s premise work? If women refused to have sex with men, could it change society for the better? Could it end, or at least seriously deter, gun violence? I doubt we’ll ever find out, but even if it could it would only be a temporary patch on a very small wound. It’s ironic what happens when humans put their own spin on God’s original plan. Oftentimes, human morality is similar to God’s will, and sometimes it shares many of the same characteristics. But human morality is never willing to give up the big things; things like sexual sins. God has designed a moral way to have sex. It’s called marriage – one man, one woman, for life. It’s really not complicated at all. If we would but follow that single principle, so many of our problems would go away.
It’s not as easy as it sounds, though, is it? Because of sin, the strong desire for sex now works against us daily. That doesn’t mean all sex is wrong. It also doesn’t mean we should get a self-righteous attitude against those who are caught in these sins, because no one is completely innocent. The solution is not to defiantly preach the Word of God while shunning those suffering from sexual sins. But at the same time no one ever cleaned his dirty laundry by trying cover it up, pretending that it didn’t exist, or even withholding something until others did it for him. That’s true literally and figuratively. The more we cover up the bitter truth of sin, and the great devastation it causes in our lives, the further we drift from God. In Christ, we have hope to be more than than our desires, our lusts, and our sins; because we are forgiven.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
When it comes to positive changes in our culture, the influence of sex cannot be ignored. But if we’re serious about change, we have to do more than tweak our own version of morality for a time and then return to the status quo. When it comes to the temptations, especially those of a sexual nature, it’s nothing short of spiritual arrogance if we think we can control them on our own, and even use them to our advantage. God alone has power over sin, and He’s proven it by defeating it on the cross. Any control we can exercise over sin is solely a product of His grace as it comes in to us in His Word.
That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Spike Lee is right about one thing, just as his movie poster states. We are living in a world that makes us feel like there’s “no peace.” The lack of peace can be blatant, like gun violence. But it’s also subtle, like the war of temptations in the heart. However, there is peace but it’s is not acquired by withholding sex, as the poster so eloquently implies by the subsequent word-play, “no piece.” True peace comes through a much deeper yet also much simpler way. It’s a peace that first exists in a heart that doesn’t hide or make excuses for wicked behaviors, but rather believes that Jesus Christ can freely take them away.
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18).”