It was either Buffy or Jody, twins in the TV show Family Affair, who found the black and white 8×10 glossies of 15 year old Cissy. We were not given full view of these photos, but it was clear that Cissy had taken off her clothes for the shots. The discovery of Cissy’s racy pictures forced Uncle Bill to deal with a tough issue and help his charges with a life lesson.
I don’t remember how the lesson played out, but I do remember my introduction into the world of explicit photography. We were watching the show, one of the few that we were allowed to watch late, as a family; and it was up to Mom to explain to us that what Cissy had done was wrong. I was in 5th grade. It wasn’t until I was in the 7th or 8th grade that the tempter once again struck with that same temptation. This time the lie came through the young men who frequented our home, and it may even have been on a Saturday evening when the young people of the church gathered for their weekly youth meeting. The black and white photos were small, smaller than palm sized, and clearly sexual in content. I knew what they were and that they were being passed around; but plead as I may, they were kept from me. That I never got a clear view doesn’t matter. That my desires were aroused does.
I suppose there is come solace in knowing it is “every man’s battle,” but knowing this truth does not mitigate the consequences. What we all need to learn, regardless of the temptation–because we do all have them–is that there are consequences to our obedience to the temptation, even dire and eternal consequences. Pastor Paul reminds us that ‘each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.’
Thankfully, to this law there is gospel. The bad news is that sin brings death. The good news is that the word of truth brings life. The Father of lights ‘of his own will…brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.’ The Word is the Word made flesh, Jesus, God incarnate. The Word is also God’s Word written and preserved by the Holy Spirit. The firstfruits are the first born as Elder John wrote, ‘But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.’