Question:

I was reading your sermons on modesty. What I want to know is why do you say mixed swimming is wrong, but in the article labeled "Emphasizing the Physical", mixed bathing is not considered wrong, but people make it a rule? I'm a little confused.


Answer:

People love to make rules, but we don't often think about the ramifications. Too often we make rules about the physical actions instead of thinking about why something is wrong.

Let's suppose we make a general rule that males and females should not swim together. So does this mean that a husband cannot swim with his wife in the privacy of their pool in the back yard? Can a family of small children play in a wadding pool? Suddenly the "zero-tolerance" rule sounds a bit foolish, but that is because it placed emphasis on the physical action and not why mixed swimming can be a problem.

The sermon on "What is Wrong with Mixed Swimming?" lists out problems that are far too often glossed over when people want to say there is nothing wrong with mixed swimming (i.e. that it is always right).

  • Few people these days are dressing modestly when swimming. Women wear less than their normal undergarments cover. Men typically wear the equivalent of undergarments. We wouldn't be caught outside in our underwear, but in a pool setting somehow this becomes right.
  • We forget about lust. Women seem to have a particularly hard time with this. They often don't see what the problem is, but men find the exposure of flesh provocative even when they know it is wrong. Even if the Christian is modestly dressed (and there are modest swimming outfits), you are still may be in an environment where others are not modestly dressed.
  • "Swimming" often involves horseplay. Touching when lightly clothed can cause problems with temptation.

What I'm pointing out that mixed swimming, in general, has numerous hazards for a Christian. But at the same time it is wrong to make a broad rule that mixed swimming is wrong because the rule focuses on the physical action and not why it is wrong. There are times when mixed swimming is perfectly innocent and fine.