"You should be faithful to your wife, just as you take water from your own well. And don't be like a stream from which just any woman may take a drink. Save yourself for your wife and don't have sex with other women. Be happy with the wife you married when you were young."
~Proverbs 5:15-18 Contemporary English Version
This is such a tender subject, Lord. Help me to navigate through it in a way that honors you and benefits the reader. May the words that follow resonate with your steadfast love and faithfulness.
As straightforward as the seventh Commandment is, "Be faithful in marriage," there must be countless blind spots we stumble across after we say, "I do". Why else would there be so many marriages dealing with the after effects of infidelity?
Before I continue, let me just say there is forgiveness and healing available if you are walking the rugged road of adultery. Whether you were the wanderer or the one with a spouse who has strayed, you don't have to remain in the grip of the emotional fallout forever. I hope you will seek help and find the healing that will empower you to move on. If you are in the midst of an affair, whether physical or emotional, I hope you will make the choice to walk away from it. Now! Close the door and bolt it shut. If you are considering looking for intimacy outside of your marriage, I pray you will see this as a huge red flag waving a loving warning. You have no way of knowing the painful consequences of the actions you are considering, and the rippling effects it will have.
My heart goes out to those who are wrestling with this toxic issue. Jesus felt the same way. If you doubt this, read for yourself ~ "The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, 'Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?' ...Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, 'The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.' Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt. Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. 'Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?' 'No one, Master.' 'Neither do I,' said Jesus. 'Go on your way. From now on, don't sin.'" (John Chapter 8, The Message)
I love this passage! To me, this is our Lord at one of his finest moments; certainly, one of his most loving. Here is a common woman who has been caught in the act. What does he do? First, he protects her. Next, he puts her sin in its context with those who thought they were superior to her. But the part that is most tender to me, is when he bends down and begins to write in the dirt with his hand. I am sure there is more than meets the eye of this reader. But I am so touched by the way he gets down into the dirt and connects with this woman that society deemed stoneable. When her accusers disperse, he doesn't get up and walk away as well. He stays and makes it clear that he doesn't condemn her. He just wants her to make better choices.
Regardless of where we've been, what we've done, and what we've been through, I believe it's possible to have good marriages...even great ones. I also believe it's what God wants for us. I hope you will come along as I explore ways to honor and protect our most sacred relationships.
"You cannot see faith, but you can see the footprints of the faithful. We must leave behind 'faithful footprints' for others to follow."
~Dr. Dennis Anderson