Mitra: Guarding subversive affairs of the heart
The David Petreaus-Paula Broadwell saga is fast becoming stale fodder for the media and getting shunted to the backburner.
Once a mighty general, Petreaus’ fall from grace seems sudden, but perhaps developed over time.
His letting down has affected his own reputation and family at the least, not to mention the damage it has inflicted on many others.
Adultery is the breaking of the seventh commandment and, as such, sin in God’s sight.
We don’t hear a lot about sin these days.
That does not mean it has diminished or ceased to exist as transgression of God’s holy law — we just don’t hear the word much.
I am not suggesting we should focus on guilt and condemnation.
Even our teaching about the sad consequences of sinning should be presented in the context of God’s love.
We should warn people heading for hell only with tears in our eyes, just as a preacher of yesteryears is said to have implored.
We have tried to minimize sin by giving it new names.
“Fornication” has been replaced by “making love” or “having fun.”
Adultery has been reclassified as a “fling” or an “affair.”
But, do we pause to see sin to be the serious matter it is in the eyes of God?
Sin is rebellion. It breaks relationships and fellowship with God and man.
Sin mars and scars the creative beauty of God that He intended for us to enjoy.
Sin is bad and tragic.
As such, we should hate sin and abhor evil.
There has been a rapid change of climate in the way adultery is viewed in our time.
Those who commit adultery are no longer considered to be in any way morally bankrupt.
There is a sense that we are entitled to a good life, that we only go around once, that life is hard and that we should grab all the gusto we can get before kicking the bucket.
Some might think the Bible is anti-sex, but this viewpoint is wrong.
The Bible prohibits sexual relationships outside marriage but celebrates God’s good gift within marriage between a husband and a wife.
Sex is more than a physical thing.
It binds two people into a close psychological and spiritual unity.
By prohibiting extramarital sex, God is protecting our most intimate human relationships.
Marriage relationships and our relationship with God are exclusive relationships.
We can have only one God, as we can have only one spouse.
In the Bible, a broken relationship with God is compared to a broken marriage.
The first two commandments and the Seventh Commandment have a special relationship.
Idolatry, worshipping any god other than the Lord God, is spiritual adultery.
It is not surprising that, in the context of the Second Commandment, God describes Himself as a “jealous God.”
In the same way, when people break the Seventh Commandment, they sin against God and also are breaking the first two commandments.
God wants the best for His people and He knows we don’t always understand what that is.
Sin hasn’t changed regardless of our euphemisms.
The consequences of sin have not changed in spite of our accommodating attitude.
Let’s not rationalize or justify our failures.
Let’s be honest enough to acknowledge the truth, courageous enough to face the facts, and spiritually tender to repent.
If we pretend we are righteous when our hearts are not pure, we condemn ourselves but, if we confess our sin, God forgives us.
The Gospel affirms that, even in most high-profile public cases like Petraeus-Broadwell affair, redemption is possible.
King David in the Old Testament is often cited as an example in this regard.
Divine forgiveness does not mean the consequences of betrayal would immediately go away.
David was forgiven but it cost the life of his infant son.
Finally, it is possible to withstand the subtle sexual temptations that people in high places in society face.
Joseph, in the court of Pharaoh, encourages us to believe it.
God knows what is best and what is best is sex be reserved within marriage, the relationship of exclusive commitment.
KTW welcomes submissions to its Faith page. Columns should be between 600 and 800 words in length and include a headshot of the author, along with a short bio on the writer. Submissions can be sent via email to email@example.com.