For several years, Yale University—an elite institution in the US—allowed students to engage in an annual 7-day sexual frenzy known as Sex Week at Yale. The week included “prominently featured titillating displays, [porn] film stars, and commercial sponsors of such material.” But a campus group called Undergraduates for a Better Yale College rose up and challenged Sex Week, declaring that it was part of an attitude that “both trivializes sex and is obsessed with it.” By voicing their concerns on a special website, in articles featured in the campus newspaper, and directly to Yale leaders, they got Sex Week canned in 2011.

Sadly, King David engaged in his own “Sex Week.” In 2 Samuel 11, we find him getting sexually aroused as he “looked” at a naked woman who was another man’s wife (2 Samuel 11:2). Then, in a rapid two-step misstep, he inquired about who Bathsheba was (2 Samuel 11:3) and had her brought to his royal chambers to have sex with her (2 Samuel 11:4). Later, trying to cover up his sin, he arranged for the death of Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband).

When we choose to engage in sex outside of marriage, there is also death—of purity and peace. In Psalm 51, we find David agonizing over his sexual sin. In deep shame, he bows before God, seeking His mercy, forgiveness, and cleansing (Psalm 51:1,2,7). The king’s illicit encounter of pleasure had led to a bitter “stain” that tormented him and his spirit (Psalm 51:1, 9-10).

David knew that only God could “purify” him of his sins and “create in [him] a clean heart” (Psalm 51:7,10). Yes, by God’s grace, we can be cleansed. But how much better it is to avoid the pain, shame, and stain of sexual sin by choosing purity in the first place. It’s something that—unlike Sex Week—honors God and shows true love and respect for others.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 3:12–4:4