Cheating is growing rampantly, it’s everywhere. Pastors are running away with their secretaries, friends are hooking up with ex’s on Facebook, affairs are even cheered on in books, music, and movies. Affairs are becoming the norm and now they’re turning into a laughing matter with the new movie “Hall Pass,” the story of two married men who are given “hall passes” by their wives for a week of guilt-free cheating.
Some say adultery is inevitable, that men are just genetically hard-wired to stray from their spouses so they can spread their genes as much as possible. Some say women have an evolutionary prerogative to find a mate and continually find the best genes, no matter what.
According to the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, approximately 50% of married women and 60% of married men will have an extramarital affair at some point in their marriage. AshleyMadison.com has capitalized on this data by offering a “dating” website for hopeful adulterers. You sign up, they help provide the affair. Owner Noel Biderman thinks his business isn’t hurting anyone, “You eradicate Ashley Madison, you’re not going to eradicate infidelity. For most people, they pursue [affairs] as a means to stay in their marriage. It’s a marriage preservation device for a lot of these people.”
Are affairs inevitable or can they be avoided? What happens when your needs aren’t being met and someone comes along who can meet them? If cheating is going to happen anyways, what’s the problem?
Cheating Damages Families
God made it clear early on in Scripture that cheating is a sin you don’t mess with (Prov.5-6). It’s even on the same Ten Commandments list with murder, stealing, lying, and worshiping idols (Ex. 20:14, Deut.5:18).
He designed marriage and sexual relationships to be solely between a husband and his wife (Gen. 2:24) for a reason. God knew the hurt, pain, humiliation, and sometimes irreconcilable damage that can be done to a marriage when boundaries are crossed. He knew the damage that can be done to an innocent child and the effects it can have on them for the rest of their lives. He knew the hearts that would break when a spouse decides to stray from their husband or wife. Consistent with His character, God forbade affairs for the good of His children.
He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. Prov. 6:32
When a person decides to cheat, they decide to commit one of the most selfish acts. They cheat because they felt like one of their “needs” wasn’t being met. But where in Scripture does it talk about making sure your “needs” get met? Instead, Scripture continually talks about giving up of yourself, serving others, and submitting to the needs of others (Lk.6:31; Gal.5:13; Phil.2:3-5).
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Rom.13:9-10
Cheating Damages the Gospel
Throughout Titus 2, mandates for godly living are given and the reason is: so that no one will malign the word of God (Ti.2:5, 8, 10). We are to do good for the sake of the Gospel. The people of God are to live differently than those around us. When we glorify God with our lives, we proclaim the Good News of salvation and tell of God’s amazing goodness. When we decide to pursue our own passions, we slander God. We harm the spreading of Christ’s work on the Cross.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, waiting for our blessedhope, theappearing of the glory of our greatGod and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himselfa people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Ti. 2:11-14
One thing that I’ve learned in marriage is that it’s not about me. It’s not about any happiness or blessings I may experience because of marriage. It’s about making me more like Christ and proclaiming the Gospel. God designed marriage to show a picture of Christ and the Church (Eph.5:22-32). Christian marriages are a testimony to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His saving power for the Church. Just as Christians are involved in an exclusive, committed relationship with Christ, marriage was designed to reflect that principle as well. Marriage is about serving Christ and serving your spouse. The blessings that come with it are just icing on the cake.
Cheating Can Be Avoided
We, as Christians, must do whatever it takes to not malign the Word of God or give Satan a foothold in our lives (1 Pet.5:8). This may mean not ever being alone with someone of the opposite sex, that isn’t your spouse. It may mean not having a friendship with an old crush from high school. It may mean not entertaining any thoughts about how great, funny, or spiritually strong your coworker can be.
If your emotional, spiritual, or physical needs aren’t being met by your spouse, that’s never an excuse to sin. Communicate with your spouse and go to the Lord in prayer. If your spouse doesn’t change, trust the Lord’s sovereignty in your life.
We must put up boundaries to protect our spouses, our children, but most importantly the Gospel! The Gospel of Christ is the most important thing we can share with people, so live in such a way that God is glorified! God is there beside you no matter the temptation or the hurt you’re experiencing. There is a way out and there is always hope in the Lord!
What Happens When It Happens to You?
Unfortunately, many of us have either been the victims or know the victims of a cheating relationship. My heart grieves for those who have experienced that pain! I cannot imagine the heartache experienced but my prayers go out to anyone who has. Praise the Lord that He offers grace and redemption (Eph.1:7)! He can heal the pain and the heartache. We only have to cling to Him and the truth of His Word. And pray, pray, pray!
If an affair has affected some close to you, what can you do? One of the best things is to pray. Pray for the spouse who hurt you, pray for the children that might be involved, and pray that Christ’s love will be shown through it all.
Hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.PS.130:7