Proverbs 7

Something wrong with your heart.

A vivid story of a seduction. The woman is one who is in a relationship but goes out to pick-up joints, essentially, when her husband isn’t around. The guy is young and unattached, but hanging around places where he knows people go to find casual sex, so neither are innocent.

The point is that is a transaction, just about sex. Neither are looking for more than a one night stand.

The attractions of the arrangement are vividly portrayed, her descriptions of her scented, decorated bed, house full of food, husband away on a long trip, the invitation to ‘drink of love til dawn’ (one commentator said the original wording was ‘too gross to be literally translated’).

Surely the young men it was targeted at would have found it all quite triggering… I imagine them saying ‘so these dodgy streets in town I should avoid… Which ones were they again?’

But he’s saying it’s not that simple. He has a lot of slaughter metaphors… The house is a stairway to hell.

The warnings of death in this passage seem pretty dramatic. I feel a bit more psalms-y about it. ‘why do the people who ignore God have great lives?’

Though it reminds me of a teen discussion at Christian summer camp with my friend Peter Pattison, who said he found all the stuff about God attractive, but he planned to have lots of sex, so he couldn’t accept it. I was floored by his honesty, couldn’t in the moment come up with a counter argument.

By chance I shared an office with his wife years later. She even mentioned how he had a box of sexy magazines in the shed where he’d go occasionally – to her it was cute.

So was that what his bargain boiled down to? What if that discussion was the closest he ever got to connecting with the God of love, the author of life. Did he really say ‘no I don’t want that’, turn off the holy spirit and wind up – in the end – with a box of magazines to jerk off to? He coulda had both! I hope he revisits that wisdom he was on the edge of. It’s certainly a dumb dumb dumb deal.

The passage identifies it as a problem that starts in our hearts: ‘Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down’.

Apologies – another anecdote.  The example of Andrew Broad, the conservative ‘pro marriage’ politician bought down last year for spending public money on dates he got through a ‘sugar daddy’ website – every time he went on overseas trips. The first time he did it, he was this guy.

You think: what’s wrong with you? How on earth was that worth it the risk? How do you get to that place?

His glands asked permission to override his heart, and he said yes. He killed something in his heart.

We live in a permissive sex saturated society. It’s confusing because this picture of guilt-free casual sex has been incorporated into the process of finding a life partner for many people.

The ideals of: sex when and with whom I want; and the dream of sex being an expression of a grand romance with an ideal partner who fulfills you, exist simultaneously. But they just can’t. Not in real life.

It’s complicated, and you eventually have to work on fixing up, and opening up, your hard and broken heart. I do believe most people naturally get to a place that is close to Christian morality, and those who don’t really do have something wrong with them, some missing thing in their heart.

Putting aside arguments about homosexuality and the Bible for the moment, it’s beautiful and significant I think that public declarations of monogamy became so important to the LGBT community. ‘Love is love’ says love is recognised as an ideal that sexual freedom is worth surrendering for.

I love the message of Song of Songs, about not stirring up the beast until you are ready, I think that’s a very deep truth that could be preached a lot more, and gets to a really honest place about the power of sexuality.

Because many of the biggest defenders of free love will still, surely, be able to point to pain, bad experiences, regrets and scar tissue they bring to relationships that could have been so easily avoided if they had just listened to and trusted their heart more.

A heart for God will steer me better, he really does want good things for me and those I love.

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