When I talk to my fellow pastors, when I consider the marriages in crises in our own church, and when I listen to the stories from friends who share of marriages they know of in trouble, it is clear to me that marriage is under attack. And in almost all the cases a particular symptom of deeper sin issues is the sin of adultery. It breaks my heart to see a person bring so much damage to so many: themselves, their spouse, the other person they have committed adultery with, their children, the other person's children, the witness of Jesus in the eyes of everyone who finds out, the community at large, and the institution of marriage.
How providential that, with all that on my mind and heart this morning, we would read as a family this morning from Proverbs 6. O, if we would but listen to and heed the wise warnings of a Father who has in mind our best life now!
You know, when I talk to people who have gone down this particular perilous path, it is not as if they planned, soon after their vows, to do so. It was a progression. They would never have considered it in earlier days. So, don't think yourself, despite a present state of marital bliss, impervious to this temptation. Remind yourself of the danger ever-present. Be aware of the disastrous consequences. Speak it to your married friends. And so protect yourself and them with these words from the Almighty.
For their command is a lamp
and their instruction a light;
their corrective discipline
is the way to life.
It will keep you from the immoral woman,
from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman.
Don’t lust for her beauty.
Don’t let her coy glances seduce you.
For a prostitute will bring you to poverty,
but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life.
Can a man scoop a flame into his lap
and not have his clothes catch on fire?
Can he walk on hot coals
and not blister his feet?
So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife.
He who embraces her will not go unpunished.
Excuses might be found for a thief
who steals because he is starving.
But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole,
even if he has to sell everything in his house.
But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool,
for he destroys himself.
He will be wounded and disgraced.
His shame will never be erased.
For the woman’s jealous husband will be furious,
and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
(Proverbs 6:23-34, New Living Translation)