It’s the murder that has shocked and gripped the nation.
Chris and Shanann Watts looked like the all-American couple – at least on social media. The couple frequently posted smiling, happy pictures of themselves and their two adorable little girls, 3-year-old Celeste and 4-year-old Bella.
But the perfect appearance quickly unraveled in the early hours of August 13. Shanann, who was 15-weeks pregnant, was strangled to death along with both of her daughters.
Chris Watts initially made a plea to the media for the safe return of his family, but it wasn’t long before authorities learned of their gruesome fate after discovering the bodies at one of Chris’s work sites. Shanann was buried in a shallow grave, while the small girls were found in an oil tank.
The question everyone keeps asking is how can this happen? How can a family giddily preparing a gender-reveal party for their unborn child suffer such an unthinkable fate? According to the arrest records, sexual sin is the root cause of this particular tragedy.
Chris Watts had mentioned an “emotional” conversation the couple had shortly after he returned from a business trip at 2 a.m. the morning of the disappearance. According to a friend, Shanann had suspected Chris was having an affair, and Chris told investigators that at 5 a.m. he informed Shanann he wanted a separation.
Details are still being pieced together, and while we may never know the full extent of what was going on in the Watts household, the arrest affidavit does show that Chris was indeed having an affair with a co-worker.
This is what sexual sin can reap in our lives.
Will it always lead someone to a shocking, horrific triple murder? Of course, the answer is no. But regardless of where sexual sin leads you, there is one thing we can know for certain: it never leads anywhere good.
It never leads you to holiness. It never leads you to happiness. There’s a reason people say you’re “playing with fire” when you engage in sexual sin.
Chris Watts probably never dreamed he’d murder his entire family one day. But somewhere, he allowed sexual sin to creep into his life. Maybe it began with viewing pornography, some office flirting, extended alone time with women other than his wife. Somewhere along the line, Chris abandoned the marriage vows he took to be faithful to his wife and exchanged it all for a lie.
The lie that whatever fleeting, flesh-fueled pleasure being offered will somehow make us happier.
The lie that the emptiness within could be satisfied by a woman on a screen, or the woman at the office.
The lie that simply divorcing your spouse and ending your marriage because you’ve found another person is an acceptable course of action.
God created the institution of marriage for many reasons, but one of them is to help us abstain from sexual sin. So often we believe the lies that Satan pushes when it comes to sex. It’s the enemy’s lowest hanging fruit — one that we’re so susceptible to.
Looking at porn doesn’t hurt anyone.
I’ll just take a second glance.
A little flirting isn’t a big deal.
Showering my affection on other women or men is simply being nice.
We rationalize our sexual sin at our own peril, and often to our own demise.
God hates sexual sin. Tim Challies points out why sexual sin is more dangerous than others:
Sexual sin is more serious than other forms of rebellion. In 1 Corinthians 6:18 we read these surprising words: “Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” Biblical scholars debate the meaning of the words but this much is clear: Sexual sin makes a mockery of the significant physical and spiritual union bound up in the sexual relationship. As the Reformation Study Bible points out, “in Paul’s teaching, the physical union involved in sexual immorality has special consequences because it interferes with our Christian identity as people who have been united with Christ through the Holy Spirit.” Those who are united with Christ have no business being united with a prostitute or anyone else to whom they are not married.
So we must always be vigilant in our walk, be on guard at all times for any sexual sin that may be lurking in our lives and honestly evaluate where we are falling short because the enemy has many opportunities to exploit the weakness of our flesh.
Are you entertaining your imagination while gazing at certain Instagram accounts?
Are you getting a little too emotionally connected to a co-worker?
Are you viewing explicit images? And not just porn, but movies, social media, and any other platform that continues to normalize sexual promiscuity and deviancy?
The pitfalls are many. Thankfully, there is hope in the Gospel.
When we grow our affections for Christ, we will also grow in our opposition to sin. The more we draw near to Him, the more we will flee from sin.
If you’re engaging in sexual sin and can’t break the pattern, know there is hope. We can rest in the promise that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control. The place to start is first to be honest with yourself and aware of where you’re falling short, then begin the difficult work of righting the ship.
If you’re looking for tools to help you combat the pervasive, rampant sexualization of culture and sexual sin in your personal life – sign up for our email newsletter and look for updates on our forthcoming online course “Set Free” which aims at helping people combat sexual sin.