Andrew Cuomo, Ravi Zacharias, Jerry Falwell Jr. and the Temptation of Sexual Sin

Bipartisan calls for Andrew Cuomo’s resignation continue to mount following the emergence of a sixth woman accusing the New York governor of sexual misconduct.

Defiant and denying any wrongdoing, Governor Cuomo has rebuffed the rising chorus advocating for his ouster.

“I’m not going to resign because of allegations,” he said. “There is no way I resign.”

Since time immemorial, sexual sin has ensnared both men and women. While people in positions of power have seemed more susceptible, its grip is no respecter of race, creed, gender, income, position or authority.

Sexual misconduct has found its way from ordinary homes to state houses, the White House and even the residences of pastors and religious leaders regularly warning against its evil grasp.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) recently released a devastating report detailing a litany of spiritual and sexual abuse violations attributed to its founder. To the shock and disappointment of many, we learned that the well-known apologist engaged for years in extramarital affairs – despite warning his audiences against the very same immoral acts.

“According to a recent study by a major university,” Zacharias once reported, “the average college student pursues ‘sex without strings and marriage without rings.’”

Does that make Zacharias a hypocrite? Yes.

Late last summer, Jerry Falwell Jr., then president of Liberty University, resigned under mounting criticism and in the face of numerous allegations of sexual impropriety. Falwell has subsequently sued the university and maintained his innocence.

High profile cases of sexual sin involving people like Mssrs. Cuomo, Zacharias and Falwell grab the headlines, but most incidents involve people outside the headlines, sometimes even people we know – either within our own families or our neighbors and friends.

Sexual sin usually begins in silence or private – but it almost always blows up and singes countless innocent people, often children and spouses who then spiral into profound depths of sadness. Tragically, some never recover.

The problem with cases like Cuomo and Zacharias is that we often view them like we do fictional movies – potent plots that intrigue but don’t really matter to us in the long run.

But every one of us is susceptible to sexual sin. So we shouldn’t watch passively, but actively, being aware of our own vulnerabilities and weak spots.

“If you say you’re not temptable in this area of your life, then I’ll say you’re either no man or Superman, and even Superman had his kryptonite,” said the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, pastor and Focus on the Family board member.

There’s a reason the apostle Paul urged believers to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:8). To Timothy he wrote, “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace” (2 Timothy 2:22).

The Bible makes clear that true sexual satisfaction is found within the marital covenant, not via some flirtatious fling. Not coincidentally, social science research attests to this as well.

How do you maintain sexual purity in the face of a culture that seems, at best, to believe the only barrier separating one from the release of lustful desires is mutual consent? Afterall, even C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues.”

The apostle Paul has already made clear that we’re not to trust our own strength to resist. People who warm themselves too close to fires run the risk of being burned by the flames. So avoid temptation at all costs. Do your best not to put yourself in a potentially compromising position with another person.

Scripture is also clear that we become what we think about (Proverbs 23:7). We’re to be mindful of what we consume. What are you watching? Reading? Texting or sharing on social media? Again, it was Paul who advised:

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Phil. 4:8).

As Christians, our hearts break for the victims of sexual misconduct.  At the same time, we should also muster the strength to pray that the aggressors be brought to justice and personally convicted, recognizing the consequences of their sins.

Believers are often mocked for subscribing to a biblical sexual ethic, but history and the current headlines demonstrate that God’s way is the best way.

Follow Paul Batura on Twitter @PaulBatura or email him at Paul.Batura@fotf.org

Photo from POOL/REUTERS

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