Teaching About Adultery
“You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye —causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand—even your stronger hand —causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Matthew 5:27-30 NLT
Teaching About Divorce
“You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’ But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.” Matthew 5:31-32 NLT
This was not an easy lesson and I’ve been praying through it for days. Thank you for your patience as I worked through what the Lord wanted me to share with you.
The Old Testament laws said it was wrong for a person to have sex with anyone other than their spouse. But Jesus is telling us in these verses that the desire to have sex with someone other than your spouse is mental adultery and thus sin. Jesus emphasizes that if the act is wrong, then so is the intention.
My study Bible tells me this critical and candid information: “To be faithful to your spouse with your body but not your mind is to break the trust so vital to a strong marriage. Jesus is not condemning natural interest in the opposite sex or even healthy sexual desire, but the deliberate and repeated filling of one’s mind with fantasies that would be evil if acted out.”
To net this out, I believe that Jesus is again reminding us that what we think, or meditate on, can be a stepping stone to sin.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalms 19:14 NLT
Jesus is so serious about the sin of adultery he uses the example of gouging out your eye or cutting off your hand. (Let’s not do that people!) However, we can literally remove ourselves (run!) from a situation that starts by causing inappropriate thoughts.
Let’s look at this example: A married woman confidentially shared with me she was in a time of struggle in her marriage. Neither she nor her husband wanted to seek counseling because of pride, so things continued to slowly get worse. Eventually she admitted to me she was having inappropriate thoughts about a married coworker. This man was someone she had known in the past, and although they were both now married, she sincerely believed God brought him back into her life to start a relationship since her marriage was in turmoil.
Oh my goodness! NO!!! God will never tempt you, but do you know who will? Satan!!!
“And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.” James 1:13 NLT
I’m happy to say her marriage was eventually restored before the act of adultery, but it did not come without consequences and heartache. She transferred to another department (removed herself from the temptation), she and her husband sought Christian counseling, and eventually their marriage was even better because they learned how to communicate with each other.
Did you see the big red flags before she turned from the situation? Lustful thoughts, pride, hurt, and lack of communication. If any of these red flags are happening in your marriage, seek help now!
Divorce is just as hurtful and destructive today as it was in Jesus’ day. God intends for marriage to be a lifetime commitment. Too many times today, couples enter into a marriage with an “escape clause” mindset. Meaning if it doesn’t work out, divorce is their simple solution.
May I just say, there is NOTHING simple about a divorce, and having gone through it, I know first-hand about the destructiveness, especially when children are involved in the break-up.
HOWEVER, before you quit reading, please understand God does not want us to stay in a marriage where abuse is taking place.
“Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.” Proverbs 22:24-25 NLT
“Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.” Colossians 3:19 NLT (This also applies to wives; never treat your husband harshly.)
God has a lot to say about who we are to be united with in marriage (as Christians):
“Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. ” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NLT
Men…, women…, if you feel marriage problems can be solved by getting a divorce (again, I’m not talking about abusive relationships!), then I encourage you to seriously reconsider that thought process, especially before you enter into marriage!
How do we do this? Well, I’m not a marriage counselor, but I will share my thoughts: we start by being as “wise as an owl” in the dating process. What does that look like? An owl seeks with eyes wide open and ears that keenly listen.
- Don’t enter into a relationship if you are both not actively walking with the Lord.
- Date for four seasons and don’t succumb to the lure of pre-marital sex. A person can only “pretend” to be someone they are not for so long. In that timeframe their true personality will be revealed. If this person has “deal breaker” tendencies and refuses to get help for them, you cannot change them. Walk away from the relationship and it will be easier if you have not become intimate with them.
- Does this person value you enough to put the greater good and long term goals of the relationship before their personal desires? Answer: if you aren’t #1 in their lives now, you won’t be after you get married.
- Learn how to communicate and solve problems before you enter into marriage. This doesn’t happen automatically after marriage. If you don’t figure it out while you are in the dating season it will only complicate and make your marriage more difficult.
- If you don’t learn how to solve differences and problems in your marriage, a divorce isn’t going to solve anything. You will most likely carry the inability to communicate and resolve problems into other relationships.
- Before you enter into marriage take a marriage class at your church, and seek counsel with a pastor or another couple who lives these truths.
The bad news: My first marriage ended in a divorce as a result of not living any of these truths. There were harsh consequences for all of us, but especially for my children.
The good news: My second marriage started with both of us entering into the relationship committed to having open and candid conversations, no matter how difficult. We vowed to each other that divorce was not going to be an escape clause. This was critical because we had each gone through a divorce and we were both bringing hurt children into the marriage.
Did we make colossal mistakes? Yes we did and the #1 mistake was not having the Lord in our marriage from the start. I am happy to say the Lord is now the foundation of our marriage and has been for a long time. Every day our marriage becomes stronger and we praise God for that.
Father this was a hard lesson and it reminded me where I have messed up so many times. However, the good news is You have been with us every time we have needed You and we praise you, Lord. What a blessing it has been to be joined to a man who guides our family under Your wisdom and authority, and I thank You for this sweet gift.
I pray Father that we all have a better understanding about how easy it is to fall into the trap of adultery especially when we allow our thoughts to go unchecked. I pray instead we turn to You, Your Word, and Christian counseling to help us learn to communicate with each other and make our marriages stronger. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.