Going to the beach

 

 

In this country, near the end of spring, as soon as the days begin to be enough hot, it happens that the beaches begin to be crowded with bathers, both Italian and foreign bathers. And the beaches remain crowded for the whole summer and then they empty and remain deserted during the cold months. Why do so many people go to the beach during summer? Because they want to bathe and to get tanned; and also because they want to amuse themselves, for they find all kinds of amusements on the beach. When summer comes, those who live near the sea hear very often of sea, baths and tans; many of those who work till two or five o’ clock in the afternoon look forward to finishing their work so that they might go to the beach, while those who have to work till eight o’ clock wait anxiously for Saturday or Sunday, and all of them wait for their holidays in order to go to the beach nearly every day. In addition to these people, there are many others who travels for hours by car or by train or by bus to spend at least one day each week on the beach. It is sufficient to go to one of the railway stations which are near the beach to see an enormous and continuous flow of people dressed indecently going towards the beach.

What happens on the beach? People take off their clothes and remain half-naked, and sometimes even naked, under the hot and shining sun to get tanned. From time to time they bathe, they listen to the music, they play soccer or volleyball or basketball where there are the necessary facilities, they eat and drink what they have brought there from their houses or they have lunch in the restaurant or pizzeria which is in the bathing establishment. Not to mention all those obscene actions which are done by some people in the presence of all, and all those vulgar speeches and jokes, which concern almost always the woman, which one can hear. That’s the atmosphere you find in all the bathing establishments during summer.

You, beloved brothers, must not go to the beach to bathe and to get tanned for the following reasons. Because your body is the temple of God and it is holy, as it is written: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? …. the temple of God is holy” (1 Corinthians 3:16,17), and because you must control your own body in a way that is holy and honourable (1 Thessalonians 4:4) at the coming of the Lord, as it is written: “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23 – NIV). But if you go to the beach to put yourselves half-naked before other people you will profane it and you will use it in a unworthy way and you will provoke God to anger. So that you may understand what you would do by putting yourselves half-naked on the beach, I will give you an example using the Old Testament. Let us suppose you are among the priests appointed by God for the service into the temple of God which is in Jerusalem; well, let us suppose you give a part of the temple to some prostitutes or you build a room where people can amuse themselves or you fill one room of the temple with idols. Would you not profane the temple of God and provoke God to anger?

What you need to bear in mind when you consider your body is that it does not belong to you because it is of the Lord, who bought it, for Paul calls the members of your body “members of Christ” (1 Corinthians 6:15 - NKJV) and he says to the saints of Corinth: “You were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20 - NKJV). And the Lord not only bought it but also sanctified it by His Spirit, who dwells in you. Therefore your body is holy and you can’t use a holy thing unworthily. That’s why the apostle Paul exhorted many times and in various ways the saints to present their members as slaves of righteousness and not as slaves of iniquity; such as when he said to the Romans: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:12-13), for he knew very well that their body was holy and had to be used in a holy way.

Therefore, brothers, since the temple of God is holy and you are that temple, you must pursue holiness, that is, you must abstain from all the things that can defile you and among these things there is also this bad habit. Perhaps someone will say: ‘Why do we defile ourselves by going to the beach then?’ First of all, because there you watch people who are half-naked and sometimes even naked; secondly, because you go to dwell among people who, not knowing God, speak and behave in a evil way and give themselves over to dissoluteness before all, and in watching this indecent sight you defile yourselves. Your body becomes full of darkness because the lamp of your body, that is, your eye, which should illuminate your body, goes out, for Jesus said that the lamp of the body is the eye and if our eye is bad, our whole body will be full of darkness (Matthew 6:22-23).

Now I will show that the arguments given by those believers who still go to the beach to amuse themselves like the sinners are vain and how these arguments are only pretexts.

 

● ‘The air of the sea is good and the doctor has advised us to go to the beach above all for the sake of our children

It is true that the air of the sea is good, and that it is good to breathe it, however it is good not only at twelve o’clock or in the afternoon but also in the morning just before the rising of the sun, and in the evening after the sunset, when the beaches are empty, and it is good also if you breathe it staying off the beach. Yet, according to some, it seems that the air of the sea is good only if you breathe it while you are half-naked and you are standing among half-naked people! I ask you: ‘How is it that almost all say that the air of the sea does good to their children, but they hardly ever say that the air of the mountain also has a salutary effect on their children?’ The truth is that many believers are slaves of this pleasure of life and they say that they go to the beach for their children’s sake in order not to appear worldly people to certain believers. In other words, they play on their children in order to go to the beach and thus cover their lust.

Furthermore, the Scripture tells the parents to bring their children up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), therefore parents must not take their children to the beach because this does not mean to bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. If you accustom your children to go to the beach of the sea or to the shore of the lake or to the outdoor swimming pool when they are young, when they are older they will continue to go there, and since they will be able to go there by themselves without you, they will go there together with their school friends or fellow workers or even with their girlfriend. What will you do then, when your children go to the beach in order to amuse themselves and to give themselves over to immorality and they cause you endless sorrows? What will you say to them when they say to you: ‘I go to the beach because the air of the sea is good!’ or ‘It was you who took me there since I was a child, what do you want now from me?’.

Brothers, wisdom says: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 – NKJV). Therefore, be careful where you take your children because when they are old they will go to the same places where you brought them when they were very young.

 

● ‘I go to the beach to get tanned since I have a fair skin!

What’s the good of this tan so extolled? Maybe it helps you to draw attention to yourself, doesn’t it? But I say to you: ‘Don’t you see that it disappears so quickly? And what’s more, it cost you much money because you had to buy special creams. Vanity has become so precious to you! You are chasing after the wind like the people of this world! Be content with the colour of your skin that God gave you! Don’t you realize that speaking in this way is tantamount to accusing God of not making your skin a little darker?’ Why don’t you glorify God – as David did (Psalm 139:14) - because you are wonderfully made, instead of complaining about the colour of your skin? You are like those who dye their hair in order to appear blond or blonde, or like those who touch up their face or some parts of their face because they are not happy with their outward appearance. Your mind needs to be renewed for your thoughts are wrong.

 

‘The sea was created by God’

That’s true, God created the sea and all the things which are into it. However, what do you mean by that? Do you mean that you have the right to put yourself half-naked on the beach because God created the sea? If that is what you mean, then the heat also is made by God, should we then wear indecent clothes as unbelievers do during summer? How could we think of doing such a foolish thing? So that you may understand how your words are a pretext and out of place, I remind you that even the drug addicts, who take pleasure in taking drugs, say that the plant from which heroin is extracted was created by God; even those who look at women to lust for them say that it was God who created women; even fornicators and adulterers affirm that it was God who created sex: even drunkards say that it was God who created grapes from which wine is made! As you can see, even those who give themselves over to evil things, in order to justify their infamous and deceitful lusts, affirm that after all they use something which was created by God! When will you realize that it is wrong to justify this deceitful lust of the old man (that is, going to the beach) saying that after all you have the right to give yourselves to this pleasure of life because God created the sea?

 

● ‘To the pure all things are pure

These words are written in the epistle of Paul to Titus and are taken by many believers, who are slaves of this deceitful lust, to affirm that to them, who are pure, going to the beach is a pure thing. But they are wrong, because the correct meaning of these words of Paul is completely different. The apostle says: “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted” (Titus 1:15 - NIV). As you can see, Paul says that to those who are corrupted and do not believe nothing is pure; what shall we say then? Shall we say that to those who are corrupted and do not believe, going to the beach is not pure? We can’t say this, because we know that to them it is a good thing in which there is no harm. But what is not pure to those who are corrupted and do not believe? Here is the answer: both their consciences and minds, for they are defiled. Therefore we come to the conclusion that to those who are pure both their minds and consciences are pure. Let’s take for instance the conscience of those who believe in the Lord, is it not written that: “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13-14) and again that Paul says: “I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience …” (2 Timothy 1:3 - NKJV)? Realize that we can’t say that an amusement or a worldly lust is a ‘pure thing’; if it were so, that would mean that the pollutions of the world (that’s how the Scripture calls them), are no longer pollutions, because they are pure. Shall we say then that the pollutions of the world do not defile us any longer because they were ‘purified’ for the pure? Certainly not! Ah, there are really many believers who have been deceived into accepting this wrong interpretation of the words of Paul!!

 

● ‘It is true that on the beach there are women who are half-naked or completely naked, but it all depends on the way one looks at a woman who has her swimming suit on or does not have it on!

We find these words on the lips of many women and men, both married and unmarried. However, I want to say this: ‘If we men strive with difficulty against the flesh as we walk along the streets of a village or town during all the four seasons, because the streets and marketplaces are full of women dressed like the prostitutes, who are everywhere and it is impossible for us not to see them, what will happen if we go among women who practically have no dresses on? How will our mind remain pure among them? If our flesh is weak, how shall we keep it from falling into temptation? I would like to say to those sisters who say such things: ‘If I told you that once you have fallen into a pit full of mud you can continue to keep your dresses clean, it all depends on how you look at the mud into which you are, what would you answer me?’ It seems to me that you are like the superiors of the priests, who say to the priests when they receive the priesthood: ‘Take all precautions in order not to fall into temptation while you confess women in the confessional!’ I say: ‘How can these poor souls, on whom even celibacy is imposed, avoid sinning with their mind or body while they are confessing (or after they have confessed) when they are commanded to put to women some questions that husbands do not dare to put to their own wives?’ Indeed, it seems to me that you don’t know what you say, I say it again, you don’t know what you say. Probably you forgot or you have never heard that king David, who was a man who feared and loved God and to whom God gave testimony and said: ‘I have found David a man after My own heart’, fell into temptation and committed adultery because one evening he saw the wife of one of his soldiers bathing. Here is what the Scripture says: “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house” (2 Samuel 11:2-4). Now, we don’t know whether Bath-sheba had some clothes on or not, but one thing is sure, she was not dressed as usual because she was washing herself. However, it is more likely that she was naked. That’s when the fall of David began, then; when he looked at a woman who was bathing. And how many men sinned after they saw on the beach a woman bathing or undressing? Only God knows. The fact is that many men go to the beach to look at women, and many women go there to look at men. And the sad reality is that right on the beach begins the ruin of many marriages. Know this, that many extramarital affairs begin on the beach of the sea. Then there are the causes of separation, divorces, and in some cases there is a crime of passion, which is called in this way because the unfaithful wife or husband is caught in the act and she or he is killed, and often the lover also is killed. And who will hear the cries of their children? How many tears will they shed because of their parents, who divorced because one of them or both of them decided to pursue unfaithfulness? And where did they begin to be unfaithful? Right on the beach.

Sisters, when will you come to your senses? When will your realize that by putting yourselves half naked before men you induce those who look at you to fall into temptation? When will you realize that by so doing you are guilty because you cause those who look at you to sin? Is it not enough for you to undress before your husband, who has authority over your body? Why do you want to undress also before other men? O women, who lack discretion, when will you understand what decency is? When? And now I speak to you brothers, both married and unmarried, who go the beach: ‘When will you realize that by putting yourselves half naked before women you induce women to fall into temptation? When will you realize that you too cause other people to stumble?

 

● ‘The money I spend to go to the beach is mine, it is not yours, I earned it and I am free to spend it as I like

It is true, you are absolutely right in saying that the money is not mine and that you earned it by the sweat of your brow, but it is also true that it was given to you by God. Therefore, since it is God who gave you the money you have, you are called to spend it rightly and not to spend it to satisfy your fleshly lusts as the unbelievers do. Wisdom says: “The labor of the righteous leads to life, the wages of the wicked to sin” (Proverbs 10:16 – NKJV). Therefore, since going to the beach is not something which is necessary for your body, but just a pleasure of life, if you use your wages to serve this worldly lust you conduct in a way which is not worthy of the calling with which you were called.

 

● ‘I carry my Bible to the beach to read it and I even evangelize those who are there

This is another expression used as a pretext by those who are rebuked by their conscience when they hear someone exposing this pleasure of life.

Now, it is a good thing to carry one’s Bible to read it, however the fact is that when you are in the midst of so many people half naked and in the midst of so much confusion on the beach you can’t concentrate; as for evangelizing on the beach, it doesn’t make sense for a believer to say that he has turned to the Lord and then he goes to the beach to evangelize because in this way he doesn’t show that he has turned from the pleasures of life to the Lord and he can’t say to the sinners that they must turn to the Lord from the pleasures of life. From what should a sinner (who goes to the beach during summer) turn, if he who tells him to turn to the Lord is still a slave of this deceitful lust? Furthermore, I would like to ask you: ‘How can you speak of Jesus Christ to men and women who are half naked and you yourself are half naked? Then, when these believers return from their holidays spent on the beach they stand up in the place of worship to thank God for sending them to evangelize on the beach to people half naked! Indeed, some believers say all kinds of absurd things in order to justify this deceitful lust!!

However, what distresses me most is that most pastors never expose this deceitful lust, rather if they have the opportunity, they say some words in favour of it (some of them even change the time of the Sunday worship service to enable the brethren ‘to enjoy the sea created by God’) for they themselves are still slaves of this lust. And many sheep are encouraged to go to the beach right because their pastors say nothing against this lust (for they can’t see the harm which is in it) and they see or hear that their pastors themselves go to the beach. Many pastors in name but not in deed say: ‘What’s the harm in it?’ There is harm in it, but they, having been blinded by darkness, can’t see it, or maybe they pretend they don’t see it.

Brothers, I say to you who still go to the beach: ‘Stop going there’; and to you who were appointed to shepherd the sheep of the Lord and go to the beach I say: ‘Stop going there and begin to expose with boldness this bad habit’. Instead, to you who don’t go to the beach – I know you are a minority – because you are fully convinced that this habit is a bad habit I say: ‘When it’s very hot, continue to resist the enemy who tempts you to join the sinners and those believers who go to the beach, resist him, standing firm in the faith and he will flee from you; know this, that you are abstaining from an evil thing and that God takes pleasure in your position’.

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, and among other things he refuses to go to the beach to amuse himself as the wicked do and recommend him to do.

 

 

 

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