“But King Solomon loved many foreign women…he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart” (1 Kings 11:1-3).
He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. While it may be shocking that King Solomon could have such a harem, is it not true that some men today have similar harems living in their own minds?
As it was for Solomon, promiscuity is ubiquitous today. We live in a culture of unlimited concubines. Our lives are inundated with offers of lust at every turn. Billboards, television, books, magazines and, of course, the Internet offer hundreds, if not thousands, of virtual concubines to move into the hearts and minds of willing men. And sadly, too many men—and pastors are willing.
A survey by Leadership Magazine showed 40 percent of pastors regularly struggle with pornography. Dr. Wayne Benson, former president of Emerge Ministries, reported that 28 percent of calls into their help line concerned some form of secret sexual sin and 20 percent were seeking help to overcome pornography.
Today, not only must we be careful of spiritual, emotional and physical adultery, we must be concerned about “virtual adultery.” This is a sexual or romantic encounter that is virtual, occurring online. For men, it usually involves pornographic pictures or video, whereas women are more susceptible to email romances and social websites. Studies show that with unlimited, ubiquitous access to the Internet, virtual adultery is an unseen epidemic that is polluting untold millions of minds and destroying thousands of families.
More than we realize, men and woman are becoming addicted to virtual sex. Consider the following:
- Everyday 200 new pornography Web sites pop up.
- 75 percent of hits on the Web are looking for a porn site.
- The largest group of viewers of porn are boys between the age of 13 and 18 years old.
- Almost 90 percent of American teens view porn online.
- 94 percent of men have been exposed to pornography before the age of 20.13
The reality is no man can be faithful to his wife when there is a harem living in his mind. Not only does it hurt the wife and the family, it devastates a ministry. How many churches have been ruined and congregations shattered because their pastor was a Solomon with a harem in his mind.
In some cases, prayer and repentance is not enough. Leaders who have a difficult time controlling their urges and actions may need to adopt a more aggressive plan for deliverance. This mostly requires one to make himself accountable to another leader or leaders.
One study done at Dallas Theological Seminary examined 237 instances of Christians (mostly in leadership) who suffered moral failure. One interesting commonality was revealed: of the 237 men who fell, not one of them had accountability relationships with other men. Perhaps the greatest safeguard we can have against the Solomon Syndrome is a willingness to take instruction and receive correction--in other words establish accountability partners. This is further demonstrated in Proverbs 5, where we were introduced to a foolish man who was enraptured by a seductress, entrapped by his own iniquities, and caught in the cords of his own sin. In Proverbs 5:12-13 he said, "How I have hated instruction, and my heart despised correction! I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me!” This man fell to adultery because he refused accountability; he refused to listen to the instructive warnings around him.
If your struggling because a harem is living in your mind, seriously consider confessing your struggle to a leader you trust and allow him (or her) the right to speak into your life and question you on a regular basis. Having an accountability group or partner is not a sign of weakness—it is a sign of strength. It reveals a depth of character that refuses to continue compromising one’s integrity.