I know you are trying Shy Guy... but No, to be honest, didn't really answer my question..... It seems your view is.. kissing is fine... if you start fondling --it's wrong, but you didn't say it was WRONG, ...you assumed that it would lead to sex. Why do we assume this? Because we are taught this (that is my answer)... It doesn't have too .
That is how I taught it to my kids, yes. I taught that would be wrong. If we want to really get into debate of specifics, when the Bible talks about sex in specifics in the old testament law, it uses a couple of euphemisms that were probably easy to understand in the culture and language of the day, but is a little more difficult to understand today. What do you think it means to "know" your husband/wife or to "lie with" your husband/wife? I equate "Lie with" with our euphemism "sleep with." "Know" is a little harder to define. In the "Song of Songs" (AKA "Song of Solomon") the woman speaks of her husband knowing her with his hand, so it is pretty obvious to me that she is speaking of him fondling her - the Song of Songs is all about sex and it is spoken of very positively in the context of the man and wife.
So how do I take it? I defined it to include fondling when I taught it to my kids, and I also taught the larger principle of avoiding temptation, but don't take the last one too far in this context.
Well I can tell you, and I likely sound like a freak in being honest about it but me & mine touched for 8 yrs without it leading to intercourse, my boundaries were firm , and deep down I felt good about that. . And you know what....it kept us emotionally connected, it kept us from burning with lust and we STILL had something that we considered "sacred" to give each other on our Wedding Day.
Honestly, SA, you are the only one who knows what you and your husband did, and what that meant to you guys. If you want me to condemn you for it, I'm not going to - that's not my place. I defined above what I taught to my kids and how I interpreted it. I don't think if I had engaged in fondling that I would have stopped there because I remember how my hormones were raging at the time. I think if I had, and had defined it as sin, that God is anxious to forgive me rather than being anxious to smash me - I just need to acknowledge that to Him, pick up, and do better next time.
My take on the scriptures you are referering to are that lust is a source of temptation (lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride of life). They are not sin in and of itself, and in fact, they are natural - but they can lead to sin when you dwell there. (That's a point I'm certain some Christians will debate with me) When Jesus was talking to the religious leaders, he was talking to married men - every one of them. When he told them about their inconsistencies and used the example of looking after a woman to lust after her, I think of this as them not just looking, but REALLY looking, following with their eyes so they can fantasize about her, lusting as in detailed, and allowing their minds to dwell on that. This even goes beyond the fantasies we talk about in the "Sex in Marriage" board. This is ONE PERSON they are fixing on and not guarding their minds. The bigger issue, though, was how they were willing to condemn someone else for that person's actions while overlooking their own shortcomings. That's where Jesus was putting it to them.
But My lord you present that on a Christian forum , you are Lucifer in the flesh.
Those LUST scriptures will suck any pleasure out of even being ALIVE. Sure marriage is Grand... but should kids JUMP to get married just so they don't burn with LUST.
Again, I think context is important. When it says that it is better to get married than to burn with lust, what is the writer really talking about? I can guarantee that my daughter and her fiance are burning brightly for each other right now. When my daughter told me she was looking forward to her wedding night and her honeymoon, I know beyond any doubt she is lusting, and I am certain her fiance is lusting after her. Is it wrong in this context? I don't think so. I think it is part of what moves them to get married, but they also need to recognize that there is more to marriage than just sex - so don't get married just for sex as someone pointed out. I've been open about that as well.
But what happens when people decide they are going to be celibate "for God," and refuse to acknowledge the burning within themselves? I think we have examples of people in key positions within churches that answer that for us. And this is not so say that married people within churches can't become adulterers either. That happens, and is one reason why a wise leader will recognize his humanity and put safeties in place (For example: a male pastor not counseling a female in his congregation unless his wife is in the house with him and the door is open during the counseling session. Or maybe finding a capable female counselor instead of counseling her himself. Don't give it a chance.)
I think when Paul is talking about it being better to marry than to burn in lust, he is talking about what naturally happens with us. When a person is not satisfied sexually, and perhaps especially if this person is a man, sex dominates his mind to the point that it is difficult to concentrate on other things. How can a person engage in the work of God if this is his state? I think Paul is stating a practical little bit of advice that I could paraphrase and expand to be, "Wake up! That's how you are put together. You're not going to be effective if your every waking moment is consumed with sex, and you look at every female that comes within eyesight with lustful thoughts! Figure it out! It is better to be married and have a proper outlet for this so you can be effective than to pretend it isn't there and that you're honoring God by remaining in this state of mind." Of course, much more than being ineffective, a minister can do more damage than good if he does not recognize his sexual needs in a healthy way.
There is some debate about whether or not Paul was ever married, or whether his wife left him when he converted to Christianity, or maybe he was widowed at the time he wrote that. We can't know for sure, but it seems that when he wrote that he was not married. While he said that was good, he also said this in the context of stating that marriage is also good, and in fact is much preferable to the state of mind I was describing above. To put it bluntly, a sexually satisfied worker is much more effective than one who thinks his celibacy is honoring God but who is really burning in lust.
So I don't think the lust is sin in and of itself. I think it leads to sin if the person doesn't get proper satisfaction.
Did I do better that time?
And just to be sure you understand, I think there are some Christians who will agree with me, and some others who will debate with me on just about every point I put in this post.
BTW: I didn't overlook Trenton's post about being agnostic. Don't minimize where I said that I spend a good part of my mid-life re-evaluation wondering if there even was a God. I can't set the context of months and months of this consuming my mind and what went on in my mind while I was so consumed, but the subject that started me thinking again that there was a God was sex. It's not a shallow thought, and the pleasure of sex was only one aspect of what I was thinking. I did see evidence of God in nature, and it was in sex where I began to come to the conclusion that it took more faith to be an atheist than it does to believe in a creator. That was only the first step, though ... it was a very busy time for my mind, and I will admit as I have several times in this thread: I don't have it all figured out. I am trying to figure it all out just like you, and I am not perfect.