Repentance for Breaking Natural Boundaries
In the Los Angeles earthquake of 1994, I witnessed power lines under and over ground breaking and igniting into flames. Showers of sparks flew from the broken lines as they lashed out, like huge snakes striking wildly at anything in their path. Broken power lines did more damage in our neighborhood than anything else.
Like those damaged lines, we as a people are guilty of breaking natural boundaries in our relationships. We have scoffed at the 6th Commandment: ‘Thou shall not commit adultery.’ Not only have we refused marriage as the one context for sexual behavior, we have allowed our minds and hearts to be filled with lustful thoughts for those we have no business sexualizing. We have violated the 9th Commandment: ‘Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s wife’, referring to the ways we envy or long to possess another that is not ours to have.
In our neediness and rebellion, we have broken holy boundaries. We have perverted God’s creation. The lines of protection break and lash out; loose wires ignite desires that are exaggerated and inflamed. Our emotions become similarly distorted and incline us to dangerous unions. Misbegotten relationships speak for themselves, a result of our separation from God rather than of our obedience to Him.
J. Budziszewski writes of how breaking natural boundaries perverts desire and behavior: “Although sex consummates the friendship of wife and husband, it perverts the friendship of comrades, just as it perverts the friendship of family members.”
I remember the seismic shift that occurred as a teenager when my male friend became a lover; I see that now with men and women on the journey out of homosexuality who break boundaries with others on the way to freedom. Friends lose friends when they become lovers. There is forgiveness for perverting a friendship, but there is no return to its original innocence.
My original walking partners in the ‘brave new world’ of homosexuality both died of AIDS. Having annihilated natural boundaries in all manner of addiction, we became subject to all manner of infection. Today Annette and I spend much of our time helping others rebuilding boundaries in the aftermath of their breaking them, not to mention the equally slow process of restoring trust with those they love.
Breaking boundaries is costly and devilish. We are slow to come to our senses. We must pray for clarity of truth and sight here; we must ask God for an awareness of the depth of denial and deception at work. I never cease to be amazed at how long and how far violators will go to defend their moral crimes.
“Behind your doors and your doorposts, you have put your pagan symbols. Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed, you climbed into it and opened it wide; you made a pact with those whose beds you love, and you looked on their nakedness…You were wearied by all your ways, but you would not say ‘It is hopeless.’ You found renewal of your strength, and so you did not faint. Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have been false to me, and have neither remembered me nor pondered this in your hearts?” (Isaiah 57: 8, 10, 11)
“Thank you God that we have come to our senses. The loose wires have lashed out at us; we have been burned by the fires of our lust and fiery emotions. Thank You for waking us up through the bitter consequence of sin.
Forgive us for the ways that we have violated You in our broken boundaries. Forgive us for the ways we have violated Your creation, including our own bodies and souls. Sensitize us to the damage done, that we would not take lightly the ways we have abused sacred trust as Your image-bearers.
Have mercy on us; give us grace, humility and courage to rebuild the boundary lines. Help us to manifest trustworthiness to those who we love and who need our faithfulness. Your faithfulness is our hope that we too can become faithful.”
We pray as Nehemiah prayed: “You see the trouble we are in: we are in ruins, our gates burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall, and we will no longer be in disgrace.”(Neh3:17)
Honor marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.