1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (NRSV)
12“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall be one flesh.” 17But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
Content warning: This devotional contains sensitive content related to mental health and abuse that may be triggering.
St. Paul proclaims in today’s reading that our bodies are made to glorify God. When sex is used for power and conquest instead of love, there is both sexual and spiritual damage.
A grandmother had been sexually abused by her father as a young girl. One day a deeply repressed traumatic memory of her father abusing her came suddenly to consciousness. Having become suicidal, she fled her home. After being missing for days, she appeared at her therapist’s office. He asked me as her chaplain to come and take her to the hospital for psychiatric care, which I did.
In the hospital I saw her on the floor of her room in a fetal position. Later, I asked her, “What went on? I saw you on the floor.” She whispered, “A battle raged between my father and Jesus.” Then she said, “But Jesus won.”
Lord Jesus, you freed a woman from the destructive power of her incestuous father. Her body, now filled with your spirit of love, gives glory to you. And so do we. Amen.