August 24, 2017

Affections Expressed

By Irven Lee

Several people who have been very active in church work for years have recently become impure and unfaithful to their marriage partners. Who can explain this? Why are such shocking reports coming to our attention so often? There are possibly many factors involved.

The efforts of humanists to destroy faith through the news media, schools, etc., have evidently succeeded at least in weakening the faith of many. Those affected may be people of the world who became more corrupt or active church people who became cont . ed. Our nation is sick morally and spiritually. This sickness is contagious.

There is need for tenderness and love in the home. Some have told us that infants develop more normally if they are handled and loved in those early weeks of life. The child and the parents need these strong ties that bind them together. This gives the child a sense of security, and the adults have joy in parenthood. There is need for affection expressed between husbands and wives, and between parents and children. Our materialistic, pleasure-mad world starves for love and kindness.

The church is meant to be one great family where love abounds (John 13:34,35). Active good will is to reach out in all directions from the devout Christian. Love that does not manifest itself in some way may not actually be love. If we love God, we keep His commandments (John 14:15,21,23). Love for the brethren is expressed in many ways (e.g., 1 Cor. 13:4-8; 1 John 3:14-19).

Mention is made of the holy kiss (Rom. 16:16; 1 Thess. 5:26; 1 Peter. 5:14). The word "holy" deserves emphasis in this expression because there is also the unholy kiss (Prov. 7:13). America is entertained by television programs where lasciviousness seems to be the main ingredient. The unholy kiss is one item in these corrupt displays.

There is more freedom of expression in our day in conversation and in display of affection among good people. Things are discussed freely in these days that would not have been mentioned in groups a few years ago. There is much more use of the embrace and the kiss in our time. It may te hard to know when to offer a word of warning about this freedom. Proper affection may be expressed with discretion at any time.

Sometimes when some preacher is found guilty of immorality people recall that for some time he had been free with his hands as he greeted the women in the church. There is no worthy place for the unholy kiss or the embrace of lust. Let those who accept the freedom of our times beware. Be sure that the affection expressed is not lust. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 Thess. 5:21,22). Do you see any danger?

The freedoms of our time have more or less destroyed such words as modesty, chastity, discretion, and shamefastness (Tit. 2:3-5; 1 Tim. 2:9; 1 Pet. 3:1-6). These words seem to have no meaning for some. They question any definitions that would restrain the exposure of the body in public. Even men who are known as able gospel preachers claim that the swim suit is modest for beach wear. If it is, to what evil was the apostle referring in these passages? If people who wear clothes such as the swim suit are modest, chaste, discreet and given to the shamefastness, I do not know of any warnings needed for these things. Does the ungodly world set the standard (Jer. 6: 15)?

Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 3, p. 81
February 2, 1984

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