“You shall not commit adultery.”
- Exodus 20:14
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, 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 right hand causes you to stumble, 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 go into hell.
It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
- Matthew 5:27-32
Also remember what Jesus said in Matthew 19 regarding divorce. Moses only gave the back door to divorce for the reason of adultery. In Matthew19:8, Jesus said that the people had hard hearts, otherwise there would be no need to have any reason for divorce. Yet, in giving this back door, it gives a consequence for adultery beyond the sense of betrayal.
I once had a conversation with a preacher. He talked about going to a restaurant the night before. He mentioned that the waitress was very beautiful. His wife gave him a tongue lashing after giving the waitress a second look. His response was ‘even people on a diet can look at the menu.’ Repeating this in my presence the next day didn’t make it right. It might sound funny, but Jesus clearly says in Matthew 5:29 that if our right eye causes us to sin, we should gouge it out. By the way, that preacher was on wife number three when he passed away.
While many people, some saying that they are Christians, feel that a trip down to the strip club is okay, I have learned that any looking at the menu, clothed or otherwise, gets images in my head that take a long time to remove. I have never been to a strip club, but there are images in movies, on television, and in other forms of ‘media.’ Jimmy Carter confessed to lust in a Playboy magazine interview. We are not immune in recognizing that someone is attractive. Where that thought goes from there (or following action) is another issue.
I love to read mysteries. A mystery thriller from a month or so ago had a graphic description of an unconventional manner of love making. There were no pictures, but I saw in my mind’s eye what was happening. I had difficulty falling asleep for two or three days after reading those pages. During the day, I was fine. I did my prayers, Bible reading, and devotions. I glorified God in what I was thinking as well as what I was doing. At least, that was the intent. In bed, the lights were out. I was in literal darkness, but the Devil used a spiritual darkness to tempt. I wasn’t tempted to do anything. I was tempted to revisit the image that I had created in my mind based on the book that I had read. I’d sing Southern Gospel. I’d quote scripture. Then, I’d look at the alarm clock, wondering if the night had been half spent trying to rid myself of a spiritual cancer. After a few days, I was too tired to allow the Devil a foothold. I simply crashed.
Since then as I read books, when the protagonist gets amorous, I start speed reading for a few pages. That way I can get to the next scene in the story without creating an image of something I don’t want to have. I already skip the curse words. What is the harm in skipping a few pages?
Why do we have this commandment? So many people today talk of this commandment as the victimless sin when done by consenting adults. They must have never met adults who have been cheated upon. They must have never met children from broken homes. I have talked to people who say that this is the worst sin of them all considering the victims it creates. In some cases, the victims extend from generation to generation as studies have shown the higher likelihood of children from broken marriages getting divorced.
To be true to this commandment, we are honoring our spouse. We are honoring God as sovereign and the creator of marriage, and we are avoiding worshiping our own fleshly desires. Even lust isn’t a victimless crime. We harbor thoughts in our minds where glory to God should be.