Summary: Purity in marriage is critical in the life of every Christian.
Read Exodus 20:1-17
Last week I was approached by one of our members and we were talking about this series on the Ten Commandments. They said that they thought I was handling the topic real well but they were waiting for the Seventh one. This ought to be real good they said. So here we are the seventh Commandment. "You shall not commit adultery.
Have you ever thought about what type of damage we inflict on ourselves and our families with this one? Last week we talked about Murder. I have heard families justifying murder. The family was able to justify what was done, “He was protecting the family, He was protecting Himself.” The one who committed the crime might not be able to tuck the kids in at night but that’s because the system took an innocent man off to prison.
With adultery there’s not this type of justification. The reason that you can’t tuck the kids in at night is because you made a choice. Someone else over your family.
Kids are the collateral damage when a mother or father treats the sacred marriage vow like a lease agreement. Trista is a teacher. We have had many conversations about children whose parents are divorcing because of adultery. Kids who have been good students suddenly start failing tests and neglecting homework. Children who have never required correction suddenly start spending time in detention or have their names written at the top of a discipline folder and filed alphabetically with other behavioral problems.
Ask little league coaches which kids require the most attention and cause the most problems. Ask police officers and judges. But adultery doesn’t just hurt kids. They are among the first victims, but the shrapnel created when an affair blows up wounds more than the little ones.
I recently read an article by Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager and a highly sought after business consultant. He was invited to consult with a bank that was having tremendous personnel problems. He interviewed all of the employees and still could not find the reason why morale was so low. Blanchard knew that the employees were keeping something from him but he didn’t know what. After some more digging he discovered that the president of the bank was having an affair with one of the employees. No one dared criticize the affair for fear of losing their jobs. But they had lost all trust and respect for the president and his other woman; a loss no financial institution can sustain for very long.
Blanchard prepared his report and met with the president. He confronted him with the affair and described the effect it was having on the employees. Blanchard’s point was simple; your bank’s morale problem is really a morality problem and the problem is yours. To his credit, the president of the bank accepted responsibility and made the required changes. Today, the personnel problems in that bank are a thing of the past. The point is, adultery in the work place has an economic impact. People who are spending their energy to cover their tracks always become less productive at work. Coworkers are forced to pick up the slack. Resentments and distrust erupt.
Ask people who work with children if adultery is a big deal. Ask business owners who have had their companies turned upside down. Ask friends who have witnessed a marital meltdown. When two people have an affair every relationship they have is betrayed. Friends are forced to choose sides. Who do you sit with a ball games, concerts or theatrical performances? When a husband and wife divorce because of an affair, which friendship do you keep? Which do you try to maintain? One or the other or both will suffer in some way. Acquaintances who may not have heard about the affair ask embarrassing and painful questions. The truth is, there are no winners when someone commits adultery. It is relational nuclear warfare. Everyone is affected by the fallout.
Burton Coffman wrote, "Jesus declared that the scripture cannot be broken in John 10:35. In the cosmic sense, there are never broken commandments. Only broken men and women, broken hearts, broken lives, broken dreams, broken nations, and broken civilizations." (p. 91).
Adultery hardly ever begins with sex. Usually it begins with friendship. A man and a woman meet each other at work or at the little league field where their kids play ball, or through school or church involvements. They develop a friendship - nothing more. At first.
But they bring to this friendship all that they are and are not - all their dreams and disappointments - all their joys and frustrations - all their hopes and all their cynicisms. In the course of time and over many conversations they share bits and pieces of their stories with each other. She learns of his frustrations with his wife. He listens to her as she laments the shortcomings of her husband. They sympathize with each other. They empathize.