By In Counseling/Piety, Wisdom

Solomon on Porn

Proverbs seems aimed at a young man–someone who is at least an adolescent since he is capable of being sexually tempted. He may be old enough to be a young married man. After all, one of Solomon’s exhortations is to be satisfied with one’s young wife (Proverbs 5:18-19).

I don’t know at what age men got married in Israel in Solomon’s day, but his wisdom seems aimed at males ranging from adolescence to early marriage.

As Scripture, Proverbs is a book meant to be read by all people, young and old, male and female. But to apply the lessons, if you are not a young man, then you need to imagine being a young man in most cases, so you can apply Solomon’s warnings to yourself.

Solomon’s warning in Proverbs 7 is specific and detailed. He wants the young man to avoid the trap of a married, wealthy, immoral woman. He doesn’t explicitly say she is older, but Solomon doesn’t call her young. The impression we get is that she is older than the youth, and certainly more experienced.

And she is not tempting the young man only with sex, but with the enjoyment of wealth that is not his and he did not earn. Her bed is a luxury that the man could not afford unless he was wealthy. Her mention of the husband’s “bag of money” that he took on his trip emphasizes his immense wealth. If he has so much money to risk going somewhere far away (an inherently dangerous endeavor in the ancient world) then we can safely assume he has far more wealth in his home estate.

So, here’s a rich woman offering a night of sinful pleasure to a young man.


The adulterous temptress of Proverbs 7 seems unprecedented in the Bible. The closest situation is the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. But Joseph was a successful and capable manager. The wife’s desires, while wrong, made more sense. She wasn’t offering herself to a young stranger who hadn’t accomplished anything. Joseph was a genuinely admirable man. (more…)

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By In Counseling/Piety, Family and Children, Theology, Wisdom

Like turning a container ship

One of the most striking and unexpected lessons I’ve learned over the last decade or so is that repentance is hard.

Very hard.

Initially this came as something of a surprise. Like most people, I used to cling to the instinctive idea that we’re basically in control of our lives, that we can make rational choices about which of our desires to follow and which should be resisted, and so on. But a few years of experience – both of helping other people to deal with their sinful, foolish and destructive habits, and in dealing with my own – have kicked that idea firmly into the long grass.


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By In Counseling/Piety, Family and Children

Never Be Dismayed

Guest Post by Leta Sundet

I’m afraid of messing up. Not just of messing up in general, but of messing this up—the big This that is the story that is my life, the story that God is attempting to tell with me as His material.

The question casts its shadow over all my decisions. Can I ruin things? Is it possible for me to forfeit some good God intends for me or—worse—the people around me, by a sinful decision?

Say, hypothetically, I don’t relish the thought of hardship; so I don’t seize a challenging opportunity, and I miss my vocation. Say I’m afraid of rejection or of real, messy love, so I don’t risk a relationship with someone who might have been the Right One after all (and now I’ll never know). Say I safeguard my convenience and shun someone in need until it’s too late for me to help them, for anyone to help them.

Each one of those decisions, made in sin—I would have no trouble asking for forgiveness for it. But the exact nature of that forgiveness would be unclear to me. I know that Jesus died for my sins, that he will erase them from my record. But does grace mean that God will erase the consequences, the unraveling of those decisions? Rewind the tape? How could he?

And if, in fact, those decisions are irrevocable, shouldn’t I live in positive dread of sin? Not out of fear for my soul, which I know is safe, but out of fear for my story? (more…)

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