Perhaps the most frequent explanation people give when asked why they got involved adulterous affair is that, “It just happened.” Nothing sinful in this life ever can be said to “just happen”; adultery is the final byproduct of a PROCESS by which a man or a woman CHOOSES to think through and conceive sin. Adultery is a temptation that begins in the HEART and MIND and then acted out in secrecy.
· Hebrews 4:13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do. AMP
People that say adultery “just happened” are deceiving themselves, and are, in reality, just lying about what led up to their own willful transgression of the marriage vow and intentional violation of God’s commandments. The acid test of truth for exposing such deception is to ask, “Would the adultery have ‘just happened’ if your spouse walked in the door as your were beginning to engage in sin?” Moving right along…
· James 1:14-16 But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire, lust, & passions. 15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death. 16 Do not be misled, my beloved brethren. AMP
When evil desire is “conceived” it gives birth to sin; therefore, sin (adultery is sin) does not “just happen.” To rationalize adultery into a sub-category of indulgence that differs from other sins means that murder, stealing, lying, gossip, slander, gluttony, idolatry, and any other wrongdoing are included.
How many times the police officer, who, after rushing to the scene of an accidental firearms discharge, in which a child was shot and injured or killed, and securing the crime scene asks why it happened, hears the careless parent muter in dismay and shock, “I don’t know officer… it just happened so fast.”
Just happened? Why wasn’t the gun locked in a safe place? Why wasn’t there a child-safety locking device secured on the weapon to prevent accidental discharge of ammunition? Why did the child have access to the gun in the first place?
It doesn’t require a degree in rocket science to figure out the progressive steps an adulterer knowingly engages in leading up to the offense; his or her own evil desire is deliberately conceived, and with intent gives birth to sin.
Hollywood tries to water down adultery by calling an, “affair,” and glamorizes it as a secret forbidden rendezvous with passion. A Christian cannot rationalize individual culpability for the sin of adultery by saying it, “just happened.” It is true there are two types of adultery, the less common being the, ‘one night stand,’ and the more typical adultery involving an emotion driven relationship. Both forms of adultery, if excused with, “it just happened,” belies ignorance of God’s word, or naivety, or someone living in denial.
If a former adulterer excuses their discretion by saying the adultery, “just happened,” this often shows an unwillingness to acknowledge and accept FULL responsibility for his or her involvement. In some cases it is demonstrative of blatant disregard for the feelings of their mate. Much more likely however is that such an excuse for adultery is a gauge for the person’s wrong concepts about forgiveness and mercy. To wit, they cannot forgive themselves for what they’ve done, let alone receive God’s mercy or the forgiveness of their spouse.
Christendom has done little to help the rising tide of adultery in our society and culture. Sadly, the statistics between believer and unbeliever are nearly identical, as they are with divorce; this shows that sin is sin, no matter who does it.
Christian churches and clergy are noted for their hypocrisy and self-righteous categorization of sins. Adultery has been classified as one of the BIG sins, while the lesser and ‘easier-to-pardon-sins’ are ones like, lying and cheating; slander and gossip; hatred and anger; these are still considered LITTLE sins.
Adultery, fornication and murder are still considered the really BAD sins, while all of the others, more or less, can be quickly and easily forgiven. Churches and ministers may not teach ‘word-for-word’ what is stated above, nevertheless, it is the prevailing majority attitude toward these particularly shameful sins. This is a carryover from the way the barbarian Roman Catholic papacy invented manmade classifications for sin.
Venial Sin, Catholicism teaches, is a less serious sin, or a sin that causes only a partial loss of grace, as opposed to a mortal sin, which brings eternal damnation unless repented of and forgiven. In the early church a distinction was made between mortal sins such as apostasy, murder, and adultery, and less serious, or venial, sins. The church drew up a list of mortal sins, which had to be confessed before participating in the Eucharist.
The Christian churches are still only one step out of Catholicism, and quite often the smug and distant behavior of churchified saints is the determining factor as to which sins are the little and readily forgivable sins and the BIG BAD sins, that cannot be forgiven without making sure the offender is duly punished by the scowling glances and whispering gossips encountered every Sunday morning at church service.
Yes, adultery and fornication are a sin against one’s own physical body, and yes, adultery is certainly more serious than getting angry and yelling at your children. But adultery is not the unpardonable sin, and it doesn’t require any penance added to the blood of Jesus for atonement and mercy.
The first step toward forgiveness is for the offender to accept whatever personal blame is warranted, so they can take steps to change their behavior (repentance) and confess their sins to God, and FULLY ACCEPT the sacrifice of Christ as complete and sufficient to cleanse from all unrighteousness. This first step cannot be bypassed if the person is to prevent future temptations from being realized.
In many if not most cases, when a man or woman excuses their adultery, saying it, ‘just happened,’ they do so because it is just too painful to dig deeper and take a long hard look at their own heart. After all, transparency is NOT a behavior modeled in churches, and experienced in only a small percentage of marriages.
Our society is plagued with many generations of men who are taught that big boys don’t cry, so they rarely show emotions, let alone yield the contents of their heart to others. Women, on the other hand, have an innate ability to share their feelings, but often find their husband as tight lipped as a giant clam.
Fueled by media versions of what love is, men and women are suckered into destructive relationships because they think they finally found someone with the, “right chemistry.” Emotions, feelings and sex are labeled love, and the most important elements such as friendship, mutual respect, patience and forgiveness and hardly recognized any more. Women give sex to get emotional love from their tight lipped men, and men will give the women flowers and candy as substitutionary alternatives for transparency and emotional nurturing, in the hopes the woman will reciprocate with sex.
With these distorted concepts of love and intimacy, is it any wonder people that commit adultery explain why by saying, “It just happened”? People lack the kind of training best taught by role models. So it is highly likely the surface reply to probes about an illicit relationships are explained this way; they actually BELIEVE the adultery just happened!
Perhaps they are not at a point where they want to fully take hold of their motives for the adultery. This mentality is often characterized by statements like:
· I just want this affair ‘out-of sight’ & ‘out-of mind’ (NOT!)
· I just want to forget the whole thing & move on.’
· Time heals all wounds.
· Let’s just live & let-live, and forget the whole thing.
There is no such thing as out of sight and out of mind. The offender may WANT it to be that way, but even if they manage to put it out of their own mind, their spouse will experience the hurt, mistrust, and overwhelming insecurity of thoughts like, “Will it happen again?”
The adulterer may want to forget the whole thing & move on, but the scripture admonishes us to look in the mirror, and consider what we did, lest we move on and forget what manner of person we are, or were.
· James 1:23-24 For if anyone only listens to the word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his own natural face in a mirror; 24 for he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like. AMP
Only God’s forgiveness eliminates the shame experienced by the adulterer and it is vital for healing and restoration. Forgiveness is not the end-all; it is a means to access God’s grace, whereby we learn to grow and mature as doers of His word.
It is also crucial the adulterer makes a committed decision to face the issues leading up to adultery and get to the core of the matter. This is the best preventative medicine to deter future temptation. Time doesn’t heal all wounds; it just fades the memory of them. Live and let live is part and parcel with saying, “Que sera sera.”
In 1956, the motion picture, the Alfred Hitchcock’s remake of his 1934 film, ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much,’ about an American couple who become entangled in an assassination plot while traveling in Africa, Jay Livingston and Ray Evans earned an Academy Award for their song “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que sera sera), Dr. Ben McKenna (played by Jimmy Stewart) and his wife Jo (Doris Day) learn about an assassination plot from a dying man, the assassins kidnap their son to keep them quiet.
If someone commits adultery, and sings, “Que sera sera,” they are, in effect, being intimidated (by shame & the devil) to shut up and say nothing about the path that led them into sin. This silence, whatever the motivation, DOES NOT keep a person free from the possibility of sinning again. God’s word says that all things are made visible when they are brought into the LIGHT. That is why it is so important we are transparent, ESPECIALLY when we sin. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians church emphasizes this (READ Ephesians 5:1-13); the context is of purging sexual immorality and vice from their midst.
· Ephesians 5:13 But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light. AMP
For example, if a wife feels ignored by her husband, and he refuses to share his heart and feelings with her on a regular basis, this unmet need may have been at the core of why she committed adultery. A male co-worker may have nurtured her emotionally at her place of employment. The longer her husband ignored her female needs, and the more her co-worker lavished affection on her, eventually she decided to fully yield to her inner desire, sinful as it was.
This scenario is all too common and must not be swept under the rug. Time will not heal this human condition; if her needs go unmet at home, and she never gets to the root of her problem, it puts her at risk for future failure. On the other hand, if she is willing to accept responsibility for WHY she did it, and then discusses this with her husband, and even seek the help of a counselor if necessary, it will insure the pattern is broken, and new behaviors will replace the old.
· Ephesians 5:28-29, 33a Even so husbands should love their wives as being in a sense their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church… let each man of you without exception love his wife as being in a sense his very own self. AMP
There are some people that excuse their adultery, saying it, ‘just happened,’ in hopes this will prevent others from seeing how shallow he or she is (regardless whether shallow or not). This is often the case if the individual is uneducated, or has an untreated learning disability, such as ADD that makes him or her feel overwhelmed by details. It is not an indicator of less intelligence, but one of undeveloped coping skills. These are often afraid their inability to trace the steps that led them down the crooked path of adultery might make them appear as weak and uncommitted in their relationship with God.
This may not be the case with all adulterers, but so many in our society, Christian or otherwise, have compromised their morality and have replaced seeking God’s will, His word, and building His kingdom for things that weaken and destroy the fabric of their soul and spirit. Sadly, many Christians watch television sitcoms that mock biblical morality and make a sham of the sanctity of marriage.
This worthless programming is a regular diet for the souls of the undiscerning, because it promotes infidelity and saturates the heart with humor as a satanic form of mockery, designed to weaken the purity of marriage and the importance of family relationships. Any Christian that feeds on Satan’s perverse morsels does so to his or her own spiritual demise, weakening their walk with God, making it shallow and worthless.
Adultery never ‘happens’ without the involvement of choice and the human will. If it occurs with the consent of two parties that are both married, this is nearly always indicative of a weakened or altogether uncommitted their relationship is to his or her spouse.
How many marriage vows, exchanged by husband and wife in the presence of God and man, have diminished and eroded to such an extent, that, after violating the most sacred of earthly trust, they can flippantly say adultery, ”Just happened?” Is that what we say to Jesus, the one who refers to the church symbolically as his wife? “Oh sorry Lord, you know this pagan idolatry that offends and slaps you in the face, it, well Lord, it… just happened!”
As a person once involved in adultery, I know there are numerous behaviors and compromising thoughts that lead up to the actual act of adultery. Don’t ever believe it “just happens,” because that’s just an excuse. Nothing of this magnitude just happens without some forethought and such excuses may stem from the offender’s continued shame for their actions.
As an adult, most husbands and wives have never developed verbal intimacy. They are unfamiliar and/or unable to express what they feel inside with sincerity and transparency. The only way they know how to deal with the disgrace and embarrassment is put up a wall to their heart. Mentally and emotionally a ‘block’ has been fabricated to prevent their mind from reflecting back in time. They are afraid to ‘relive’ the experiences leading up to adultery, often because of FEAR of failure, and the shameful feelings that well up from the shame of it all.
This article is not aimed at being hard on somebody that comes out of the destruction of adultery; God forbid; I’m dispelling the lie it just happens. You cannot change what you refuse to acknowledge and the way to wholeness involves MANY steps. Below is a list of some of the steps a person, especially a man, encounters leading to down the crooked path of adultery. This list is not chronological in order, nor is it meant to be. Instead, it is a presentation of things to watch out for, warnings signals that should ring the alarm bell in your heart and mind and spirit if you are engaged in any one or more of them. I learned the hard way; you don’t have to.
1. Verbal intimacy in the marriage was declining or non-existent. Verbal intimacy is CULTIVATED; it is PRACTICED. It is saying, “I love you,” for no reason whatsoever, and doing so daily, and doing so often. When this ceases or is diminished, it is the beginning of drifting, and drifted is growing apart slowly, but the results are the same as if it happened immediately. The husband needs to take the most active role here; he is the dominant initiator & should be expressive to his wife regardless of whether or not he “feels” like doing it. She NEEDS to hear his voice, or she will lean toward someone else who is willing to express verbal intimacy to her.
2. Dissatisfaction with one’s spouse & noticing what’s “wrong” instead of how wonderful they are. Satan is the accuser; he will use your mind as the battleground & if you listen to him, he will find so many nitpicking things wrong, it will destroy the marriage’s strength, and create a breeding ground for adultery. If she’s overweight guys, tell her how beautiful she is she already knows where the fat is). If he’s beginning to look middle-aged and frumpy, tell him what a great guy he is, & how much you appreciate him, & what good care he’s given you.
3. Frequently looking in other places, such as entertainment (e.g. – excessive amounts of movie rentals) to fill the void for what is lacking in the marriage. Do yourself a favor & find the fruit of the spirit in God’s word. Delight yourself in the Lord; the television set has no eternal rewards & will do nothing but deaden your spirit & pull you and your mate apart.
4. Use of pornography by men, particularly Internet porn. Porn is an addiction & it is an invitation to Satan, inviting him into your body, home & will single-handedly destroy your marriage. Pornography is a put-down to your wife. Pornography is idolatry; it makes your genitals a ‘god.’ Porn is living in unreality & is fueled by demonic interaction with your males hormones. Porn will take you to hell & leave you there for eternity… is it worth it? Porn distorts what sexual intimacy is. Porn will set you up for adultery faster than anything else I know. Porn will make your wife seem inadequate, will fuel your inner selfishness (it’s one of the most selfish sins I know of), and you will seek another. You will not find what you’re looking for while using porn & you will end up having sex with prostitutes & will get genital herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital warts, HIV & AIDS. There is another kind of pornography that doesn’t involve the Internet, Playboy or Hustler magazines, or any media… For men, it’s that “second” or “third” glance toward a beautiful woman, especially if she is seductively dressed. I know from experience this frequent compromise is a demonic set-up and part of the master plan and scheme the devils uses to lure a man into the trap.
5. Lack of physical intimacy in the marriage. This does not mean just sex; it means touch, hugs (soft, gentle, tender & lingering hugs), holding hands, kisses, playful touch. Husbands & wives need touch; touch one another intimately, in ways you would never touch someone of the opposite sex. Many adulterous relationships begin when illicit touch is involved. A secretary gives her male boss a neck or shoulder rub… and it lingers.
6. Lack of gratitude expressed towards each other; saying, “Thank you honey,” for even the most insignificant things, like doing the dishes, making the beds, checking the oil in the cars, mowing the lawn, etc. Marriage partners should say ‘thanks’ to each other daily, and often. It is indicative of their appreciation & indicative of the overall health & well being of the marriage relationship.
7. Seemingly “innocent” (ha) flirting when at work, or away from one’s spouse. This is particularly the case with husbands that are lured by a woman’s eyes. The eye is the lamp of the body; it sends an inner signal & must never be taken for granted. If an attractive woman sends a dissatisfied husband a “look” that says, “Hey you, come here, I want you,” run like all get out! Make a covenant with your eyes; better to enter heaven with one eye missing (so to speak, not literally, please!), than to enter hell having given yourself over to the eyelids of an adulteress. The same principle applies ti wives; beware & know your eyes are a gift from God. If you send visual signals to a man other than your husband, there is NO SUCH THING AS INNOCENT FLIRTING! Your eyes have power, & will lead quickly to adultery, given the circumstances & factors have been laid out strategically by the devil.
8. Using the Internet chat and instant messaging to have seemingly “innocuous” and “anonymous” relationships online, again, to fill the void of what’s missing or lacking in the marriage. There is no such thing as innocuous or anonymous! It is playing with fire, & if you take fire into your bosom, you WILL be burned! If your husband will not share his heart with you 7 you are left with an emotional void, then fill that empty place with God’s word. Get yourself involved with serving others, but whatever you do, CHAT ROOMS are individual intimacy with someone of the opposite sex, to the exclusion of your spouse, is ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN! The acid test for this is simple: ALWAYS send email copies of whatever you write to ANYONE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX TO YOUR SPOUSE. If you’re too embarrassed to send a copy to your spouse, then it is not appropriate to send it to someone else’s spouse, or someone of the opposite sex.
9. Compromising one’s moral values; (e.g. - watching movies, TV programs, magazine advertisements, etc that use graphic images of male or female nudity, intercourse, etc). It is appalling how many Christians will routinely watch ‘R’ or ‘PG-13’ rated movies with no sense of shame or discernment whatsoever. How can someone make an ironclad decision never to engage in adultery when they bring adultery, fornication, and every behavioral substitution of the real thing into their home every week? It is one piece of the pie that led up to my own infidelity, and coupled with other compromises, took me down the road to adultery. Occasional use of alcohol for recreational purposes, which lowers and sometimes altogether eliminates one’s own inhibitions and moral boundaries is another common moral compromise that Christians make. It is staggering for me to watch how many of my former Christian colleagues have taken to nipping at the bottle now and then, (sometimes more ‘now’ than ‘then’).
There are so many more things to mention, but the purpose here is to signal the main items, and peak one’s attention, and speak to the heart of those who are God’s “watchmen.”
Proverbs mentions the eyes of the adulteress being used as bait to draw the naïve man into her snare. In fact, the RECIPE for adultery and what leads up to it is noted by the highlights below from the Amplified Bible text of select Proverbs. Nobody says it better than God, so in closing, let Him search your heart. Commit your ways to Him and He WILL direct your steps… toward Him… and away from adultery… SELAH.
14 Willful and contrary in his heart, he devises trouble, vexation, and evil continually; he lets loose discord and sows it. 15 Therefore upon him shall the crushing weight of calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken, and that without remedy.
16 These six things the Lord hates, indeed, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look; the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others; a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who breathes out lies; even under oath, and he who sows discord among his brethren.
20 My son, keep your father's God-given commandment and forsake not the law of God your mother taught you. 21 Bind them continually upon your heart and tie them about your neck. 22 When you go, they; the words of your parents' God shall lead you; when you sleep, they shall keep you; and when you waken, they shall talk with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the whole teaching of the law is light, and reproofs of discipline are the way of life, 24 to keep you from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a loose woman. 25 Lust not after her beauty in your heart, neither let her capture you with her eyelids. 26 For on account of a harlot a man is brought to a piece of bread, and the adulteress stalks and snares; as with a hook, the precious life of a man. 27 Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one go upon hot coals and his feet not be burned? 29 So he who cohabits with his neighbor's wife will be tortured with evil consequences and just retribution; he who touches her shall not be innocent or go unpunished.
30 Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry; 31 but if he is found out, he must restore seven times what he stole; he must give the whole substance of his house if necessary--to meet his fine. 32 But whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks heart and understanding (moral principle and prudence); he who does it is destroying his own life. 33 Wounds and disgrace will he get, and his reproach will not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy makes the wronged man furious; therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance upon the detected one. 35 He will not consider any ransom offered to buy him off from demanding full punishment; neither will he be satisfied, though you offer him many gifts and bribes.