Posted by: religionthink | September 10, 2009

Thoughts On Matthew 5:28

Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

It puzzles me that some ministers of most mainline churches have very little background in psychology. It would seem that if the mind was so important in the sin process we would want to know more about it. Many are afraid to use science to our advantage when working with and counseling people who have these issues in churches. Not just adultery, but any sin that has been developed and dwelled upon in the mind.

The problem of using science in ministry could stem from the past issues churches had with science. The Scopes Monkey trial and the fight against evolution has, as an example, caused some churches to pull themselves from the main stream of society, pull their children form public schools, and a fight to prove God exists in a faith based religion. In a recent interview on National Public Radio former President Jimmy Carter, while being interviewed about the recent publication of his book, Our Endangered Values, mentioned that science is a revelation from God. Back when biblical texts were written the writers did the best they could explaining the world around them. They had no way of measuring time or how old a rock was. President Jimmy Carter went on to say that the job of proving God exist is a matter of faith not the job of the state.

In a recent workshop on criminal psychology at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania, Roy Hazelwood, one of Americas experts on profiling and violent sex crimes stated, “The composition of the human sex drive is ten percent biological ( instinct), twenty percent physiological (fantasy), and seventy percent psychosexual (mental and emotional). With this information from criminal psychology when can ask ourselves several important questions. What led me to think of and mentally dwell on the sin? What was the step by step process on how I committed the sin? Did I enjoy it? What was my post-offence behavior? These few question and many more can provide insight into the mind of the sinner and make him or her aware through self-reflection.

People who are not able to self-reflect at this level may never understand why the same conflicts keep arising in their spiritual lives and mentally and physically agonize over the issue because pastor may not know how to deal with these issues. Currently the cures are, pray and repent. While this may be correct and need to be done the question, for example, of post–offence behavior could come in handy. If the person is emotionally distraught repents, but then commits the same sin, then they in fact did not feel remorse. Many people fail to realize that emotions can be faked and at times repentance over and over is seen as a form of penitence. However, if the person felt remorse while they committed each step of the sin and there is more post–offence behavior then just the emotions, then perhaps insight was realized and the cycle of the spiritual ups and downs can be somewhat slowed.

Providing insight into why the sin was committed in the first place (stress, abuse, family issues, financial issues, domestic ect.. ) can be helpful for then the person will know what to be on the alert for. It is important to know that these factors do not excuse the sin but can provide insight into why it occurred. Each person is different and there are no absolutes. Withdrawing form society and friends can no longer be the answer to avoiding temptation. For what good is the armor of God if we are held up in the safe fort of the church and never use it? What of all the friends and people we abandoned when we were saved just to avoid temptation? Are we not responsible for them also?

These examples are just a few ways that the behavioral sciences can be applied to understanding and developing our spiritual lives. Though these forms of research are still in development but they can be utilized by pastors and Christian counselors to better the religious experience and lives of many. Also if the mind makes up a large part of our being and is the originator of sin then it behooves us to take more than one class of psychology.

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