The newspapers this week are reading like a high school gossip column. FBI agents sending shirtless photos to a married woman, who was being harassed by thebiographer/lover of America’s most famous living general, and all those involved made vows of fidelity to other people! How does a man with such an impeccable reputation as David Patraeus cheat on his wife? Good question.
Here are few things to consider before you cheat:
1. It is a lie. What is a lie? When the young, pretty colleague/secretary/friend begins to tell you how amazing you are. The first thing you need to understand is that if you cheat you are not amazing! It is a trap. The adulteress knows just how to use flattery to build your ego. When Jehu came to kill the evil Queen Jezebel the bible records that she fixed herself up.
//Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she put on eye makeup, arranged her hair and looked out of a window. (2 Kings 9:30)//
Despite being well along in years, she would seek to seduce her killer. If there is a woman in your life that is stroking your ego you must cut off that relationship now.
//Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house. (Prov. 5:7-8)//
Besides, it is only a matter of time before she knows you as well as your wife does and discovers that you are not so special.
2. The adulteress will ruin your life. Just ask David Patreus. King Solomon understood this.
//Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to [the adulteress’s] ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death. (Prov. 7:24-27)//
You feel the urge to enter into this relationship, but understand that the end is death.
3. It will change your relationship with your children. Before you commit adultery, imagine explaining to your children that you had sex with another woman. You will go from hero to zero in no time flat. Your responsibly is not to your desire for sexual gratification, but to your children.
4. Guard your Marriage. If you are considering cheating, then more than likely your marriage has lost some fire. Here is the good news—it’s your fault. That’s good news? Yes, because if it is your fault, then you can fix it. Marriages suffer NOT because we fall out of love, but because we don’t manage the relationship—we don’t watch over it, nurture it and take care to see that the passion is preserved.
Instead of cheating, do what you must do to stoke the fires of love between you and your spouse. You may need counseling (which you should never be ashamed of—my wife and I have often counseled with other leaders in order to strengthen our marriage) or maybe you should read a book together. (The Five Languages of Love is a great one!) Guard your marriage and you will have no need to cheat.
//Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman? (Prov. 5:15-20)//
5. The fantasy is a lie! My wife and I sat in the home of a woman who divorced her husband several years ago. She felt she had married wrong and was seeking a new life. As she sat alone on Thanksgiving morning I could see that the new life was not measuring up to the fantasy. It never does. The mind can create a trouble-free illusion, but somehow reality brings with it so many trials and troubles the lust-filled illusion left out.
//But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away. (Prov. 6:32-34)//
6. Home Alone: On that note, try to imagine being along on the holidays. Imagine your kids having to spend Thanksgiving with your wife and new husband during the day, before stopping by your home in the evening. Is that really what you want? Remember the adulteress wants to ruin your life:
//But in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. (Prov. 5:4-5)//
7. Do you have a desire for disaster, humiliation and heartache? Look at what Jill Kelly, David Patraeus, Paula Broadwell, General John Allen and shirtless FBI guy (who we will soon know) and their families are now going through. Do you want that? I hope not.
//…lest you lose your honor to others and your dignity to one who is cruel, lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich the house of another. At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. (Prov. 5:9-11)//
//Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. (Prov. 6:27-29)//
CHALLENGE: Will you, along with me, commit to reading Proverbs 5, 6 and 7 today or tomorrow? If so, let me know in the comments section.