The Insanity of Sexual Sin

by Dr. Harry W. Schaumburg

It’s a fair question: How could David, described as a man after God’s own heart, commit adultery, get the woman pregnant and attempt to cover his sin with murder? Have you ever asked the same question about your spouse, a friend, or even yourself? I assume that anyone in the agony of unfaithfulness and betrayal has painfully asked, “How could you?” How can anyone have an affair with their wife’s best friend? How can anyone look at pornography at work and risk losing their job? How could anyone spend so much money and be deep in debt from sexual sin? Why would anyone risk losing their marriage and kids over a sexual chat that often leads to a one night stand with a stranger? Spiritually they have become very self-centered. Their extreme selfishness has driven them to do things that are illegal, devastating to a marriage, destructive to a career or financial ruinous. However, the same person can usually hold a job, pay their bills, parent their children, and seemingly have normal relationships with others.

Often, when a person is caught in sexual sin, bewildered family and friends will ask the question, “whatever where you thinking?” And the correct answer: “I wasn’t thinking!” Sexual sin, perhaps like no other sin, is insanity. However, make no mistake, it is not a mental illness nor is it a disease like many suppose. Mental illness is a sickness of the mind, but this is worse. This is an insanity of the heart. The darkness of unfaithfulness is a crushing blow to the meaning and beauty of covenant relationship that was created in the mind of a loving God. The acts of sexual sin are even more disturbing when we see the full implication of the insanity.

The insanity is dynamic: a continuous energy of irrational, negative, and rebellious actions against God. Sexual sin is a spirit of fighting God in order to be God; to control one’s own life. Sexual sin always has the thoughts and desires that one way or another declare the heart’s willing opposition to God’s claim over our bodies and therefore over our sexuality. That is why David after sinning with Bathsheba, correctly states, “against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment” (Psalm 51:4). Therefore, a person engaged in sexual sin has, just like a truly insane person, has lost touch with reality in terms of who they are in relationship to the reality of a creator God. This is irrational thinking, the highest level of intellectual functioning. “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart” (Eph. 4:18). Therefore, the real break with reality is much more then with human relationships, the break is with God.

So spiritually speaking the insanity is real and rooted deep inside. Sexual sin doesn’t make the sinner; the sexual sin is committed because one is a sinner, enslaved to sin. Prior to any sexual sin, the heart is inclined to sexual sin. It is a heart inclined toward being deceived, so deceived that truth is a lie and a lie is the truth, insanity of the heart is always a problem of self-deception, not just a problem of deceiving others. Deceived into thinking more about themselves, everything revolves around sex or sexual pleasure. If we understand the nature of sin, rather then being surprised at what a person does sexually, we should be amazed that everyone isn’t living in sexual sin.

© 2006 Dr. Harry W. Schaumburg
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