Sexuality Is Not Identity
What is identity? Identity is who we are. It is how we view ourselves, and how we want others to view us. Our sense of value is based on our identity.
Increasingly, we are taught at a young age that our identity is in our sexuality. The influences of friends and media encourage us to pursue sexual experiences. This focus on sexuality creates an impression in our minds that our value must be measured by our success in experiencing sexual pleasure.
Many young people today are robbed of their childhood and damaged emotionally by being pushed into sexual experiences that they are not mature enough to handle. They develop a diminished sense of self worth, and become addicted to many destructive behaviors. Girls often feel that they must dress in such a way as to attract the attention of boys. Boys often mistreat girls because they view them as objects of pleasure rather than human beings with equal value. Girls who get tired of being mistreated by boys sometimes seek pleasure in relationships with other girls. Boys who struggle to have successful relationships with girls sometimes turn to other boys. Some become confused and begin to pretend they are a different gender. Others become frustrated even with the idea of gender.
Much of the confusion we see today could be avoided if we understood a simple, yet profound truth. Sexuality is not identity.
We have become so accustomed to viewing our sexuality as our identity, that we never stop to ask ourselves why we assume this. Sex is a physical act. How could one physical act define who we are as people? That's ridiculous! Identity goes far deeper than outward appearance and physical actions. Identity is not external at all, but internal. It's not in our personality, preferences, or performance.
In refuting the idea that sexuality is identity, we will point out three self evident truths.
1. Humanity is identity
Both science and the Bible confirm that we are all descended from a common ancestor. Therefore, all of us have equal value. Our value cannot be measured by our skin color, height, facial features, mental ability, or physical ability. All of these measurements are subjective and create abuse and oppression.
We are all human, and therefore humanity is our identity. The differences between us do not reflect on our value, they make our lives more interesting. Who would want to live in a world where everyone looked, acted, thought, and spoke exactly the same?
Our weaknesses do not diminish our value at all. Instead, they provide an opportunity for us to appreciate someone else's strength. Weaknesses also build character, not only in those who must accept their limitations, but also in those who must learn to think about the needs of others.
When we learn to find our identity in being human, instead of our sexuality, we become free to make better choices. Often a wrong sense of identity causes us to feel compelled to make choices that damage ourselves and others.
2. Gender is design
Both science and the Bible teach us that our bodies are designed. Even those who have an evolutionary view of origin use the word "design" to describe how the different parts of our bodies work.
The human race exists today because there is a male and female gender. Gender is a design we see not only in humans, but in animals as well.
When we learn to see gender as design, rather than identity, life becomes less complex. How I feel about my gender is unimportant. My gender is a fact of nature that allows the human race to engage in the miracle of reproduction. I will be much more at peace as a person when I accept my gender as design, rather than viewing it as a subjective construct of personal identity.
3. Sexuality is purpose
Both science and the Bible remind us that the purpose of sex is reproduction. In fact, reproduction is the mechanism of evolution, so if you believe in evolution but reject the purpose of sex, you are rejecting the very mechanism to which you owe your existence.
Sexuality is purpose, and that purpose is reproduction. Sexual pleasure is not the end, sexual pleasure is the means that accomplishes the end of reproduction.
Animals have a desire to mate in order to reproduce, and human sexual desire serves the same function. If we understood this simple principle, we would make wiser choices when it comes to sexuality.
Reproduction is not a complicating factor in sex, reproduction is the primary purpose of sex. To ignore this obvious fact is to open the door to all sorts of problems in society. The reason we make poor choices in relationships is because we are focused on short term pleasure rather than long term goals.
If we view sexuality as our identity, we will view the responsibility of reproduction as the enemy, rather than the purpose of our sexual desire. On the other hand, if we accept the reality that sexuality is purpose, rather than identity, we will control our sexual desires rather than allowing them to control us.
Humanity is identity, not sexuality. This means that none of us needs to feel obligated to be involved in some type of sexual activity in order to have value.
Gender is design, not identity. This means that we can be free to be human no matter which gender we are. Since our gender is not our value, there is no need for us to wish or pretend we are another gender.
Sexuality is purpose, not identity. Since we owe the existence of the human race to sex, there is no need to view reproduction as the enemy of sexual pleasure. Instead, we should accept reproduction as the purpose of sexual pleasure, and adjust our choices to accommodate this fact of nature.
All of the teachings in the Bible about sex need to be understood within this concept of identity, design, and purpose. When we adjust our choices to fit the reality of our identity, design, and purpose, we find that biblical morality is not a burden at all.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
In the area of sexuality, as well as many other areas, we have turned to our own way, but Jesus took the punishment for our sins when he died in the cross.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
God loves you and wants you to have everlasting life. He didn't send his Son to condemn you, but to save you.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
You can call upon Jesus to save you today. He will change your heart and teach you how to live according to his design.
"Jesus, thank you for dying for me. I am a sinner, and I need forgiveness. Please forgive my sins, save me, and make me a child of God. Amen."
Written by Pastor Mark Hunter
Dells Baptist Church