A Christian dilemma at Slate: Incestuous twin brothers

Incestuous twin brothers wonder if they should reveal their secret relationship. - Slate Magazine
I remember some floor mates of mine in college getting very excited when Dear Abby published their fake letter seeking advice on some particularly salacious issue, the details of which I can't recall. This issue in Emily Yoffe's advice column in Slate might very well be cut from the same cloth, yet she chose to publish it and deal with it seriously. I read Ms.Yoffe irregularly and have found, with some regularity, concordance between her opinions and mine. This time, not so much. But I'm more interested in pushing the narrative further, into the church realm. What pastoral advice would a Christian have to give to someone in this situation who has become born again?

I'd say start with Jesus.

Jesus loves you. He has an abundant life for you that begins now and is fulfilled in heaven. He loves you where you are. Period. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16 When you begin your journey of faith it's like finding the golden ticket to get into Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory. But having the ticket and using the ticket are big differences. What's the point of having the ticket if you won't start out towards the heavenly kingdom?

You've written about your intimate relationship.
He affirms marriage as something instituted by God our Father between one man and one woman in Matthew 19:4-6. We also find out that marriage is a metaphor, instituted by God to demonstrate the relationship between Jesus and the church, his bride. John 3:28-31; Matthew 9:15; Matt. 25:1-13; Ephesians 5:23-27; Revelation 19:7-9; Revelation 22:17.

However, not all intimate relationships reflect that relationship, but, rather, corrupt it. There was a fellow in the Corinthian church who had taken up with his step mom, see 1 Corinthians 5:1. Before we react and condemn, perhaps his dad had taken up with a young attractive gal, about his son's age or younger, and they were both attracted to her, and she was attracted to the younger version of the guy she married. For whatever reason, they were spiritually attracted to this Christian community who welcomed them with grace. But they had grace beyond what God offers, for which St. Paul rebuked them. It was a non-blood related incestuous relationship. John the Baptist criticized Herod for marrying his brother's wife, Matthew 14:1-6. God forbids incest in the holiness code of Leviticus twice in ch. 18 and 20. Those are the same places where homosexual relationships are also forbidden.

These are difficult words from God for those who want to pursue an erotic love which does not correctly fulfill this metaphor of Jesus and the church, two different, complementary partners. Jesus hates divorce, because that also destroys the metaphor. Jesus is always faithful. He has grace for our sin, when we mess up the metaphor in our relationships. as St. John writes, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 But confessing our sins means we agree with God that we agree with him that the thing he's convicting us of is indeed wrong, a sin, an affront to his holiness, a failure to show our love to him. At the last supper, John records Jesus telling the disciples, If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10 I am not claiming I am always able to not be selfish, to love God with all my being or my neighbors as myself, which is what the commandments boil down to. Daily, and more frequently than that, I'm sinning and confessing and being honest with God, instead of hiding and denying, like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they disobeyed God.

I can assure you that your intimate relationship with your brother is a sin. Some of us experience immediate delivery from some sins, and some of us spend a lifetime in constant battle with some temptations. This might be your besetting sin, and you might have victories and failures, but as long as you stay honest with God, and a group of believers who are in the journey with you, you'll be out the door and on your way to the heavenly kingdom. All of us walk with a limp, some of us crawl, some of us stop, some of us turn around, but the reward is worth the journey.

Welcome to the family. Is there anything I can do to help you keep going?

Great series by Bill Mounce titled "Change is not automatic."

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Luke said…
Wow... I really like that: "Welcome to the family. Is there anything I can do to help you keep going?"


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