This article is about sex and money.
The two have more in common than you think – primarily, our failure to constructively talk about them.
As much as people love sex and money, we hate talking about sex and money even more.
How do we expect issues like pornography, pre-marital sex, sex trafficking and extra-marital affairs to be resolved when we refuse to address them? Why do we act surprised to find out that we are terrible at saving and ignore the fact that we are way too good at spending?
We don’t know how to responsibly handle sex and money because we don’t talk about how to responsibly handle sex and money. They’re social taboos, especially in Christian circles. We avoid talking about them in discussions, we fall back on a “judge not lest you be judged” defense and we individually “fake it ‘till we make it.”
As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Right now, good men and women are doing nothing, or very little at best, and it’s unhealthy.
The outliers that actually discuss these uncomfortable topics are few, but they make waves when they speak out. In the past two weeks, Terry Crews shared a series of three videos titled “Dirty Little Secret,” in which the actor opened up about his former addiction to pornography. It made national headlines, and it only took some honesty from someone who’s struggled with it.
For most young Christians, the extent of a discussion regarding sex is, “don’t” – no helpful instruction, no advice for a healthy respect for sex – just “don’t.”
This doesn’t set a high standard to encourage purity; it just creates a confusing yardstick that most fail to measure up to. I’m not calling for a relaxed standard of purity – just the opposite. But a grasp of this standard must come after healthy and involved discussions on God’s expectations.
And while we remain silent about properly handling money, banks spend $5.5 billion annually on credit card marketing and commercials. Whose voice do you think young people are listening to? Marketing doesn’t target us because we’re hard-working adults who deserve nice things; it targets us because we’re uneducated about money.
The average American household is $15,000 in credit card debt and almost $130,000 in total debt. While previous generations viewed money as a means for security, prosperity and provision, we treat money as a way to get more stuff.
But here’s the real hang up – we’ve stopped using money to pay for our stuff. We just borrow our stuff, and we “pay” for it with money we don’t have through credit cards. And then we owe more for our stuff than what it’s actually worth because we have to pay high interest rates on our purchases.
Then, by the time we finish actually paying for that stuff, we don’t even own it anymore because it was too old and we wanted newer stuff. And guess how we paid for the new stuff? The cycle continues.
These aren’t impossible obstacles to overcome. They aren’t problems we can’t fix, even within a generation. But they are challenges that we’re currently falling short in, largely because we won’t talk about them.
Sex and money have another thing in common – they’re designed by God to be blessings when used correctly. So let’s start the conversation.