When I was a teenager my dad would call my hands “vice grips”. This meant a lot to me because he was saying that I had a strong grip. On the farm you use your hands a lot for gripping tools, milking cows, lifting bales and such. Hands are very useful appendages. My hands got beat up a bit too because I used them as hammers sometimes rather than using an actual tool.
So what all can I do with my hands? Well, I can prepare and eat my food, type this blog post, fix my car, draw, communicate with non-verbals, and such. I can caress my wife in a way that is a pleasurable gift to her or I can stroke myself to bring myself pleasure. I can bless with an affectionate touch or I can strike a damaging blow. Sometimes it is right to strike a damaging blow, such as in defense of a helpless person, and sometimes it is wrong.
The ability to do something does not make it right or wrong. You have probably read 1Corinthians 6:
1 Corinthians 6
12 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 13 You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. 14 And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead.
15 Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 16 And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.” 17 But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
Now, I know the example Paul uses is having sex with a prostitute and I am leaning this more toward masturbation. Stay with me here! He quotes the Scripture that says, “The two are united into one.” In Genesis, God said that it is not good for the man to remain alone and that was His reason for creating the female. It is not good for us to be alone! We are designed to be in relationship with God and with one another. Our hands, our ears, our eyes, our mouths, and even our genitalia are designed for relationship, not for isolation and lonesomeness.
There has been a lot of push back to this idea that masturbation is not something we are to be engaged in. One argument is that masturbation relieves sexual tension like a safety valve on a high pressure tank to keep the tank from exploding. Another is that as long as no one is hurt by it and it brings pleasure to you then it must be part of God’s design and that prudish religious people are the problem because they make a person feel guilty for doing something that is godly. My point here is that just because we can do something and it feels good, that does not make it right or indicate God’s approval.
Masturbation is not a safety valve. It is a catalyst that causes a reactive cycle in a person which draws them into ever more deviant and deadly behavior. We are designed for relationship and masturbation has nothing to do with relationship. It may be physically pleasurable but it is like drinking salt water, it leaves us even thirstier. I know this from my own experience and the experiences of hundreds of men that I have met and listened to their stories. Masturbation says, “You don’t need anyone else. You just need your hand and…a magazine, a video, a silk thong, a……what?” What is there about being by yourself that will ever satisfy the longing in your soul to be in intimate relationship with another person?
One more picture: A big, mean dog came around the neighborhood, a stray. Whenever it came around we brought the kids inside for fear it would maul one of them. This was an unacceptable situation. What were we to do about this? Well, the poor thing was probably starving and that was what made it so mean. The obvious answer – feed the mean dog. That would make it less likely to bite or maul anyone, right? The result? Because he was being fed, the mean dog came around more often, demanding his food. No longer roaming around far from the door of the house, now he was right there at the door, all the time, demanding to be fed. We could no longer go out and enjoy our neighborhood. We were isolated, trapped in our own home, slaves to a dog that has now been trained to survive by meanness.
I’m not judging you. I lived for 34 years (with the exception on one year in there) controlled by masturbation. You won’t die or become a rapist if you don’t masturbate just like you won’t go blind or grow hair on your hands if you do.