Think Twice Before You Commit Adultery
A fellow I met by the name of Michael told me about the worst day of his childhood: "It was in the mid-1960s. I was just a kid. We were watching ‘Mission Impossible’ on TV. In the middle of the show my father flipped off the TV and said, ‘Your mother and I have something to tell you. We're getting a divorce.’
"‘What! A divorce? No, you can't!’" Michael kept his parents up until 4:00 in the morning trying to talk them out of it. His efforts were in vain.
His parents’ divorce rendered Michael an angry young man. He got involved in drugs and became the biggest dealer in his school. In his adult years Michael came to know Christ but his childhood wounds remain.
When David committed adultery with Bathsheba (II Samuel 11) he thought, "This will be discreet. No one will ever know." He had no idea of the disasters his one-night fling would lead to: the pregnancy of Bathsheba, the murder of Bathsheba's husband, the death of a son, and the eventual division of the kingdom.
If you ever contemplate breaking the seventh commandment and are willing to suffer the divorce that will likely follow, consider the bitter consequences.
Consider the effect it will have on your spouse. Jumping off a seesaw in midair is a dirty trick, no matter how much you may not like the person opposite you. Your spouse has entrusted him or herself entirely to you. Will you now break faith with "the wife [or husband] of your youth, ... of your marriage covenant" (Malachi 2:14)?
Consider the effect it will have on your children. Their tender hearts will be broken. There is a good chance that they will be angry, will suffer depression, and that their future marriage will be inhibited on account of their inability to trust their spouse. You will lose their respect. One teenager told me, "I will never trust my mother again." No fancy gift or fabulous trip will heal the wound that you will inflict on your child.
People say that kids are resilient. "They will bounce back." They may; they may not. Even if they do, there will always be a scar. I was once eating lunch with a friend from North Carolina. He is a former football player and a successful businessman who exudes self-confidence. But when we talked about his father decades ago leaving his family for an adulterous relationship, this big strong man teared up like a baby.
Cut off your child's arm. Rip out his heart. But don't be so cruel as to leave your family -- and for what? A fantasy that will never materialize in the way you imagine it will.
Before you commit adultery (or, if you are single, before your fornicate) consider the effect it will have on you. In the book of Proverbs God says that the adulterer "will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly" (5:23). "Can a man scoop fire onto his lap without his clothes being burned?" (6:27). "At the end of your life you will groan" (5:11). You are likely to die a lonely old man or woman, full of regret and self-loathing.
Teenage girls who fornicate are three times more likely to be depressed (www.drthrockmorton.com/article.asp?id=173). Discussions I’ve had lead me to believe that the rate of depression is even steeper among married women who commit adultery. When a woman marries the man with whom she committed adultery, romance usually turns to resentment. She cannot respect a man whom she married after such an unsavory prelude. She certainly cannot trust him. These marriages are usually shot from the outset.
Mona Charen cites a study that found that “unhappily married adults who divorced were no happier five years after the divorce than equally unhappily married people who remained together. And two-thirds of unhappily married people who remained married reported that their marriages were happy five years later. Even among those who had rated their marriages as ‘very unhappy,’ nearly 80 percent said they were happily married five years later….The data shows that if a couple is unhappy, the chances of their being happily married five years hence are 64 percent if they remain together but only 19 percent if they divorce and remarry” (the article can be found here).
In Proverbs 5 God commands husbands and wives to “Drink water from your own cistern.” Rejoice in the wife or husband of your youth.
God redeems marriages where adultery has been contemplated or committed. Marriage Savers provides a number of strategies for restoring broken marriages (see www.marriagesavers.org). We have a couple in our church who is available to mentor couples who are working through difficulties.
God redeems adulterers. Scripture is emphatic that "adulterers" will not "inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). But adulterers who are genuinely repentant and resting on Jesus Christ can know God’s forgiveness and a have fresh start (I Corinthians 6:11).
Peter Kemeny, Pastor
Good News Presbyterian Church
P.O. Box 1051, Frederick, MD 21702