“Someone told me the delightful story of the crusader who put a chastity belt on his wife and gave the key to his best friend for safekeeping, in case of his death. He had ridden only a few miles away when his friend, riding hard, caught up with him, saying ‘You gave me the wrong key!”
In part #1 we talked about 7 factors in infidelity. Today we want to analyze 3 responses to temptation of infidelity. These are Dangerous Strategies in dealing with temptation. They are:
Let’s take each one individually.
1. Alienation/Secrecy. The devil loves Lone Rangers and Secret Agents. I have to shake my head when I have conversations about this topic and I hear Christians say: “All I need is Jesus and His power”. Depending on Jesus is paramount, but having an accountability partner increases the chances of saying no to temptation. It’s naive (even dangerous) to think we are good arbiters of our capacity to withstand temptation. In fact, we are poor judges of character, especially when it relates to us. The book Avoiding the Slippery Slope mentions 4 reasons we keep secrets:
a. We want to continue doing what we are doing.
b. We think by hiding it from people we are hiding it from God.
c. Keeping it a secret leads to dualism, and that sometimes is preferred to dealing with the truth.
d. We worry about what people will say about us if they found out.
Interestingly enough, people use the excuse of “if my spouse/church/friend found out that I was tempted, they would think less of me”. What do you think they will say if the affair is consummated? We have to stop lying to ourselves. “When your lover is a liar, you and he have a lot in common; you’re both lying to you!” Susan Forward, When Your Lover Is a Liar: Healing the Wounds of Deception and Betrayal
2. Compartmentalization. Try saying that word three times, fast! Basically, that is when we believe and act like one area in our life does not have much (if any) relationship with another. That is why you can see people acting saintly in some contexts, while hiding serious sins. Usually compartmentalization starts innocently, with phrases like: “Only this one time”. Why does that happen? Here are three reasons:
a. We have been deceived into thinking that there are “secular” and “spiritual” areas. For a Christian, everything you do is a spiritual experience.
b. We believe that what we do in one area does not affect other areas of our lives. Remember the phrase “we never sin alone” from part #1? Our life is not a chest with several drawers called “occupation”, “sex”, “sports”, “church”. It’s a body, with everything interconnected.
c. We fail to consider the consequences. Do you think King David would have still gone through with the affair with Bathsheba of he knew the painful consequences of his actions?
3. Rationalization. This simply means, looking (or making up) excuses for the infidelity. Instead of dealing openly, spiritually, and honestly with temptation, we rationalize behavior with thoughts like these:
b. I’m not getting at home what I should.
c. I’m always taking care of others. Now it’s time to take care of me.
d. I married the wrong person.
As I close, I encourage you to take the following actions:
1. Get an accountability partner.
3. Stop making excuses and lying to yourself. Come clean before God.
Psalms 32:5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.