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Current Page: Church & Ministries | Saturday, November 16, 2019
JD Greear warns masturbation can be 'addictive,' 'significantly harm' God-honoring sex life

JD Greear warns masturbation can be 'addictive,' 'significantly harm' God-honoring sex life

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While masturbation is not an “unforgivable” or “unavoidable” sin, it is a “dangerous” practice that can “significantly harm” a healthy, God-honoring sex life, J.D. Greear has warned. 

The president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina, addressed the sensitive issue in the latest episode of his podcast.

Greear noted that many people have questions about masturbation, yet don’t know “who to ask or how to ask” because the subject is “uncomfortable.” Masturbation is the use of sexual urges for the self alone. 

The pastor then identified three misconceptions about masturbation, the first being that it is an “unforgivable sin.”

“It is something that God knows. He knows our hearts and our weaknesses; it’s not the unforgivable sin,” Greear said. Masturbation is also not an “unavoidable sin,” he said, citing 1 Corinthians 10:13. The verse reads, in part: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.”

Additionally, masturbation is not a “single man’s” struggle, Greear said, revealing 70% of married people and 89% of women struggle with the issue. 

While the Bible doesn’t explicitly address masturbation, it is clear that lust is sinful, Greear said, referring to Matthew 5:28, which states that “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

“We know that it would be difficult to masturbate without looking at or imagining a woman who is not your wife,” Greear said. “It’s not really possible, it’s not how God wired it ... it’s not possible to remove sexual thoughts from it.”

The pastor went on to warn that the act of masturbating can be “dangerous because it can be addictive.” He explained that the physical act of orgasm releases certain chemicals (oxytocin, epinephrine, etc.) and has become a legitimate addiction for many people. 

“It’s something that can start to almost re-wire your brain,” Greear said. “It can actually sabotage healthy sexual relationships because it takes sexual desire away from the way that God intended it, which is between two people, and turned it into sort of an auto-eroticism type of thing.”

“It can significantly harm a healthy sex life,” he stressed. “Paul evens says that: When we sin sexually, we don’t just sin against another person, we sin against our own body because you’re removing something that God has never intended to be separate, and that is sexual pleasure that is outside the connection between a man and a woman within the bounds of marriage.”

The good news, Greear said, is that God is not surprised by our sin, adding: “It’s something you have to present to Him.” He added that Romans 8:12 says we are not “under obligation to our flesh.”

“His spirit wants to give you that, and His grace is there to hold you in forgiveness in those places where we struggle,” Greear said. “We don’t need to beat ourselves up because of this sin, we don’t need to beat somebody else up because of this sin. But just because we shouldn’t beat them up, also we shouldn’t indulge it either.”

“We need to recognize that God has created sex as a very powerful and beautiful thing, and it’s going to work best when we’re doing it the way that He has designed it,” he concluded.

In a previous op-ed for The Christian Post, blogger Erin Davis explained that the heart of God's purpose for sexuality — the mutual giving and receiving — is exactly what masturbation does not and cannot provide.” 

“Masturbation strips sexuality of its divine purpose of mutual fulfillment,” she explained. “Where legitimate sexual expression is meant to produce unity, masturbation produces isolation and division. Masturbation is inherently self-centered. An act meant to be shared toward two people is completely and exclusively about one person, all alone. Masturbation deeply undermines a woman's ability to deny and resist her most self-centered, sinful, isolationist tendencies.

Masturbation simply cannot fulfill God's design for sexuality, and thus has no place in the life of one who calls herself a Christian.”

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