By Lanette Zavala, author of Marriage Vows Under Fire and A Single Woman’s Journey Through Marriage Preparation
It is so discouraging to see extramarital affairs or to hear that a marriage is being impacted by an affair. Of course, this is especially true when the person involved is, if not your spouse, someone else whom you love dearly. In an extramarital affair, there is far more drama than pleasure to gain.
So many times we hear the saying, “Live and let live.” During times of witnessing loved ones or close friends blindly engage in destructive behavior, anyone cornered by the “live and let live” practice in our society can so easily walk away concluding, “Well, I’m not one to judge.”
But what if we know certain details about someone we love? What if we know they’re on drugs? National campaigns encourage us to reach out and speak out to help save their lives. Or what if we know a loved one who is violently wrecking havoc on somebody else’s life? Are we supposed to walk away and mind our business while somebody is in danger? Not according to the standards of our society’s values.
Adultery is approached differently – if at all in certain cases. We’re taught not to throw stones; and this is Biblical. But a person can be falsely accused of throwing stones for bringing to someone’s attention that he or she is in need of repentance for adultery. The ministry of repentance is never one of condemnation if done according to the standards of Jesus Christ. However, if adultery or any other sin is called out with motives other than promoting repentance (and the reasons for the need to repent), then stones definitely are being thrown.
As the other woman or man, consider the advice to leave an extramarital affair without wondering what the motives are for telling you. These reasons are too crucial to doubt: 1. You do not have a right to someone else’s spouse. 2. The marital problems associated with your lover can be transferred into your relationship if you succeed in stealing him or her from the previous marriage. 3. Jesus Christ offers a way out, forgiveness, and a new life after an adulterous lifestyle.
You Really Don’t Have A Right
Beware of subjecting your conscience to a haunting passion. A passion for a married person will convince you that you have a right to fulfill the desire of your heart. But that right that you feel is false. In the arms or gaze of that married person, you will evaluate all angles of your relationship and fail to perceive clearly. Those goose bumps, warm snuggles, soft kisses, sweet whispers, and convincing promises are the ingredients of a sweet-tasting poison right off the lips of someone in the very act of cheating the person to whom they made a vow. And you allow yourself to be the outlet of this person’s decision to cheat?
Jesus gave you the right to a better life. His offer is salvation to all of us who don’t deserve His forgiveness. But by believing with a genuine heart, we can be forgiven, cleansed, and be saved from the judgment He preserves for a world that rejects His love for it.
It is completely your choice to accept or reject Jesus’ offer that was made to us all in our sinful conditions. But if you choose not to accept Jesus’ offer, go on ahead and think you have a right to take somebody’s spouse. But while you feel that false right to shake up another relationship, your own deeds are leaving an invisible trail behind you. Remember that. So, if somebody on your job succeeds in taking your position, don’t forget to congratulate the person. In your book, they had a right. If anybody unfairly cheats to take anything from you, you ought to admire them.
Many people who seek to take someone else’s spouse convince themselves that their lovers are like fair game. And the wives or husbands should just except that. Well, those are the rules of an adulterer or adulteress. And those rules are forced on the victimized spouses. Well, just like you have your rules on cheating, when someone cheats you (the adulterer) they are going to cheat you according to *their* rules, not according to yours. Overly ambitious co-workers who want your job have their rules, scammers have their rules, thieves have their rules, waiters who spitefully tamper with your meals have their rules, and other cheaters of all kinds have their own rules.
There is far more than one way to reap. You may not reap adultery. But you could reap your very own attitude found in someone else willing to impose their rules of cheating you. God, who refuses to be mocked in any way concerning His standards for us, designed the sowing and reaping concept to be stiff – not lenient. That right you feel to take that married person from his or her spouse also entitles you to all that comes with the territory of an adulterous relationship.
Problems Are Transferable
When you break up a marriage for a relationship of your own, don’t think you’re simply going to marry a person. You are going to marry a problem and find yourself positioned at a new side of it. You’d better be prepared for the battleground that the other spouse was on. I stress *the battleground that the other spouse was on.*
There is nothing fresh about marrying someone who left his or her spouse for you. There is nothing romantic about it. And you will learn the hard way if you succeed in taking that person from the previous marriage. The challenges that belonged to the previous spouse will now belong to you. Do you think you were the only challenge in that man’s or woman’s previous marriage? Eventually, you will find out the other challenges. Those challenges may not necessarily be people. Those challenges may include keeping your looks in tact. So, you’d better be on top of your game. You’d better keep oiling your mind for more stimulating conversations. Who is to say that no one who looks better than you or no one who holds better conversations than you will ever come along?
You did not steal a faithful husband or a faithful wife. You stole a cheater. You stole a scatterbrain who really does believe that, after some time, yes, the grass is greener on the other side if things don’t work out as planned. Outside the saving grace of Jesus Christ, there is no glue in the universe that can hold this type of person down – unless he or she reaps a serious, agonizing problem that will force you to stick around and take care of it. It will be then when you will learn that you have a job meant for the first spouse. It will not be what you planned. It is never what a self-seeking cheater plans. “For better or worse” was intended for those under the original vows, unless severed by death.
Jesus Is The Way
Jesus is your Way out of a hurtful relationship or out of a relationship that can eventually hurt you. Jesus is your way out of a relationship that could possibly involve hurting children from the cheated marriage. More importantly, He is your Way to eternal life if you believe on Him as the One and true Savior Who died on the cross and rose again so that we can be saved by believing on Him.
Marriage infidelity is a very deceptive attraction that leads to a grave risk of spiritual death. The reason I say “risk” is because repentance is available to all who are willing to surrender. But there is an unspeakable danger in treating the grace of God so lightly as to go and sin with a motive to “repent” later. That’s just not repentance. That’s a sign of not knowing Christ at all.
When our former president was publicly confronted for his adulterous affair in the Oval Office, he was under the fire of modern day Pharisees. People wanted to see him out of office and shed light on that man as if no one else had any sin. But had someone close to the president, someone just outside the door of the very affair itself, or someone who had just gotten wind of what had happened could have privately pulled him aside in secret to let him know that he would answer to Almighty God of the universe (The King of kings, the LORD or lords Jehovah), then we can trust that God would follow through on that warning. God punishes yet He loves to an everlasting extent. And we can rest assured that He forgives those who ask for forgiveness with a sincere heart if motivated to completely change with complete effort and reliance on Jesus alone.
It happened to King David – the Old Testament man who killed Goliath under the old covenant law and who triumphed over many in other wars. In Biblical studies, David is known as a man after God’s own heart. Yet he committed the sin of adultery with Bathsheba. He slept with her, impregnated her, and eventually placed her husband on the front lines of war where he was likely to die for his country. And that’s exactly what happened to Bathsheba’s husband.
Well, David was privately confronted by a man who truly represented God. This man, Nathan, did not publicly make this affair known. He did not demand that David give up the crown for that sin. God did not empower Nathan to do that. (That’s not the power we are ultimately given.) Nathan approached David as a humble vessel of the LORD – so humble that perhaps he could have known his own well-being was on the line for confronting the king with such humiliating news.
Nathan told David that there was man in his kingdom who had many sheep and another man who had only one little lamb. He informed the king that the man with many sheep unjustly took for his own possession the only lamb of the other man. Nathan proceeded to ask David what should be done of the man who had taken that lamb away. David boldly declared that the man who did the wrong deed should be punished greatly. This angered David. Nathan then broke the news to the king by telling him that he (David) was the unjust man. And David repented sorrowfully suffering through years of consequence yet unfailing love for the LORD who forgave him.
Where is that wisdom, which God had given Nathan, during our time when adultery is practically celebrated and glamorized on one end yet used as a weapon of knowledge to publicly humiliate somebody? We are a confused generation because we have not embraced scripture the way God intends for us to do. So, we transfer our confusion in the media. The media is full of mixed messages about adultery.
In America, we have too many opportunities to handle adultery irresponsibly. Our society makes subtle accommodations for it. Producers of media hot topics like to dig for clues about affairs in order to capitalize on scandals. Do they really care about it being morally wrong? Celebrity fans applaud their icons for relationships that stemmed from extramarital affairs. (On the other hand, people in the same society throw stones at political figures for doing what some celebrated, glamorized superstars have done.) Movies and television shows present storylines that justify adultery in a number of ways.
But the resulting scars from infidelity can never be glamorized. People play games with their own marriages and with other people’s marriages so quickly and blindly that they fail to grasp how greatly outside parties can be impacted.
To see a mistress or an unfaithful husband exposed (and vice-versa) can tempt many of us to throw stones. Look at what many in our nation did to the president in the 1990’s. Because I have sins myself to take before Jesus Christ in repentance, I present this subject carefully. My intention is to offer a wake-up call to those who have not considered the repercussions of spending inappropriate moments with married people.
One of the many marital issues within the storyline of Wedding Vows Under Fire Book Series (due to release in March, 2013) is adultery and the hurtful results it imposes on a betrayed spouse.