Today is the Memorial of the Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist. Saint John told King Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your (Mark 6:17-29) brother’s wife.” King Herod knew that he was sinning, but he kept on doing it. His unlawful wife Herodias wanted to kill John, and she finally had her way by her daughter’s seductive dance.
John knew that he would eventually be killed, but he told the truth about Herod living in sin.
I personally know people, some very well, that personally used the phrase “living in sin” regarding living together before marriage. At least one of their parents, usually the mother, told them that it was wrong to live together before marriage since it was almost inevitable that there would be sexual relations between the couple. While the other parent, usually the father, did not really have an opinion on the matter. Yet, they did it anyway.
Just the other day, in my own car, someone acknowledged that they were “living in sin”, but it was the practical thing to do. About a year before that, someone jokingly said that, “Yup, I’m living in sin!” In fact, most couples that I know lived together before getting married. (I also know many that did not.)
What did I say? Nothing. Am I afraid to tell them that they’re wrong? I guess so.
When you get down to it, we’re all living in sin. However, what’s the main difference? One set acknowledges their sin and repents, the other set perhaps – if at all – acknowledges their sin and does not repent. Am I being holier than thou? I think I'm not holy and need God's forgiveness, not brush off my sin as nothing.
There is difference, though, between King Herod and those “living in sin” nowadays. King Herod knew God’s law and directly disobeyed it. Today, people do not really know right and wrong. In saying or joking that they “live in sin”, they really do not acknowledge that it is a sin to live together before marriage (or take another wife/concubine while still being married to another; I know these people too). The moral standard they use is similar to Obama’s: it’s a sin to be “out of alignment with [their own personal] values”. Therefore, if they think living together does not cause a moral dilemma, go for it. If religious, old-fashioned people say living together is a sin, they’re not in line with my values, and I can ignore them while still mocking them for their impropriety towards my feelings and disregard for my values.
In the end they’ll realize that old-fashioned people are right. More people than not divorce if they lived together beforehand. More abusive relationships develop after marriage if they lived together before. If contraceptives are used, the wife is seen more as an object than one that is to be loved and cherished. Families fall apart and society suffers from lack of foundation.
I will try to say something in the future if “living in sin” comes up. I guess I just fear getting my head put on a platter. I must try to “be not afraid”.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us!
John Paul the Great, pray for us!