Some of this world’s marriage counselors advise: “A little adultery is good for your marriage!” But is it really? No breaking of the 7th commandment before or after marriage is good in any way. Read this article and find out why it is wrong and what you can do about it!
Charles David was an average man. He had learned early to be satisfied with the middle ground of life. High school found him only slightly above the 50 percentile, and he just managed to get a baseball letter in his senior year.
He earned everything the hard way, but he had satisfaction in what he did. Graduating in l960, and with a plodding but patriotic spirit, he joined the Marines and soon saw service in the Vietnam War. Grinding away at his Marines duties, he managed to reach the rank of Sgt. before honorable discharge in 1964.
That summer of l964, Charles got a secure job with the United States Post Office. He was 23 years old. His brand of success was within his grasp. And to top it off, his life suddenly took an exciting turn, Mary Ann Daily.
Mary had been his secret high school love. Considered by most to be a little too wild, Mary was perfect in Charles’ eyes. He’d never had a real date in high school, but he had certainly been lots of places with Mary, only in his fantasy dreams. Even in the Marines, he had not gone out like the others. At 23, he was a male oddity, a virgin!
To find Mary still at home and still single was almost too much to hope for. It took great courage to ask her for that first date. Her unexpected acceptance stunned him. By Thanksgiving, they were going steady. Three days before Christmas, Mary Ann Daily became Mrs. Charles David; Charles actually pinched himself during the ceremony to be sure he was awake.
With his savings and the GI Bill, Charles and Mary returned from their honeymoon to move into a neat, attractive bungalow. One year later, little Mary arrived, equipped with her mother’s same pert nose and deep blue eyes. Although she had periods of restlessness, Mary was trying hard and made Charles a good wife. Larry’s birth, two years later, only made life more perfect.
Everything Charles did was for his family. He even took a second job to provide the extra things he knew Mary enjoyed. By 1970, he was able to buy a second car for Mary and still have money in the bank. Little Mary was now six years old and Larry was four. How he enjoyed Larry’s cuddliness and Mary’s pixie beauty.
Lately, though, his wife had shown signs of increased restlessness and unusual moodiness. He had bought her a new coat with a fur collar to try to make up for any lacks he may have had, but it didn’t seem to help much. He just couldn’t seem to get close to her anymore.
It has been one of those bad weekends when nothing went right and Mary seemed particularly unresponsive. Monday morning, Charles’s deepening concern caused him to do something he had never done before. He did not go to work.
Instead, he went directly to the florist and bought the most beautiful bouquet of roses they had. In order to surprise Mary, he did not drive up to the house, but parked around the block and came through the alley to the back door. He was happy to find she was not in the kitchen to see him and spoil the surprise.
The tragic scene that greeted him was one no husband should ever see! There was Mary on the living room couch in the act of adultery with a stranger! Charles could not speak; he could not move.
A stranger, in one moment, had totally shattered all his hopes and dreams of a lifetime. The life he had painstakingly built no longer was. The mother of his children, the woman of his dreams, his lifetime partner now lay spoiled, damaged, sullied before his eyes. He just could not bring himself to believe it!
Before he could move, Mary saw him. “What are you doing here?” she hissed through clinched teeth! No remorse, only anger and rage that he had returned home unexpectedly. She had secretly been committing adultery for some time. Her love for Charles had faded beyond repair. She couldn’t stand him, and was going to ask for a divorce anyway. This only brought it to a head more quickly.
Little Mary, and little Larry were only pawns in what followed. Their lives became split and damaged in the tragic aftermath of this ruined family, this broken home, this shattered union! All Charles had ever dreamed of was no more.
Mary has been married twice since; Charles remarried once. Mary took the children and Charles has visiting rights. Mary has two more children and has lost her youthful vigor and beauty. She doesn’t realize why, but she never seems to have peace or satisfaction anymore. Charles had no more children, but his eyes betray a cloud of disillusionment and the pain of loneliness and unhappiness. All because of the sin of adultery!
This story of Charles and Mary is true. Only the names and certain facts are altered to hide their identities. The tragedy is that their story only mirrors what literally thousands of Americans and Britons suffer each year. The records, the movies, even some clergymen claim it is all right, even good to commit fornication or adultery. But they never tell the stories of the Charles and Marys across the country.
Though some few might admit the Bible says adultery is wrong (Ex. 20:14), almost no one understands why it is so wrong, why God forbids it, and what the irrevocable, tragic consequences are.
God did not forbid fornication and adultery simply because He wanted to be cruel to us. He knew the inevitable result and wanted us to be protected from its horrors.
Today’s so-called “wise” people claim there is no damage in promiscuity, but the men of old knew better! Notice what the patriarch Job has to say, “For this (adultery) is an heinous crime; yes, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges. For it is a fire that consumes to destruction, and would root out all mine increase: (Job 31:11-12).
What’s that? “Root out all mine increase? “Heinous crime”? “Fire”? “Destruction”? Surely a little “extra-curricular fun” couldn’t bring on all that! You’d better believe it!
“Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goes in to his neighbor’s wife; whosoever touches her shall not be innocent (or, go unpunished’ margin)” (Prov. 6:27-29).
Those who commit adultery (or fornication) have no idea of the penalties that go with it. They cannot understand how automatic God’s Law is and how surely they will receive their punishment. God continues, “the adultress preys upon your very life” (Prov. 6:26).
“But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacks understanding” (Prov. 6:32). Any man who thoughtlessly takes another man’s wife truly does lack understanding. He doesn’t understand that he is dragging all the hopes and dreams of that man (and his wife) through all the mud and slime of human filth and degradation. He is ruining all his hopes and desires, destroying a family, besmirching all that are good and tearing down plans, dreams and desires of a lifetime, just what happened to Charles and Mary David.
Verse 32 continues, “he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.” He “destroys his soul” in two ways, first in what the offended husband will do to him and second, what he does to himself. “For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts” (vs. 34-35). Once a woman is robbed of her virtue, once the offense has been made, it can never be taken back. How can you pay a man for ruining his life and future? How can you placate a man whose dreams have been shattered? How can you restore to a man his unspoiled and unbesmirched wife? You can’t. The adulterer always stands the risk of having his life taken through the vengeance of a hurt and wronged husband. Any man who can’t see and understand this lacks understanding.
How does he “destroy his own soul”? Notice how Job describes the adulterer: “The eye also of the adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, No eyes shall see me; and disguises his face for the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one knows them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death. He is swift as the waters he beholds not the way of the vineyards he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree” (Job 24:15-20).
The adulterer learns to sneak and be “shifty.” His character becomes untrustworthy. He marks his female targets and tries to avoid being seen. If he is seen, he “beholds not the way of the vineyard” runs and crashes through the fields and fences to escape what he knows to be his fate. The adulterer is an untrustworthy person, even to himself.
But that isn’t all! Notice what Paul says, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sins against his own body” (I Cor. 6:18). How can this be? A man’s wife is his own flesh, his own body (Eph. 5:28-29). Any man who commits fornication or adultery is sinning against his wife, or future wife, destroying possibilities for future happiness by his thoughtless, senseless act.
He doesn’t realize there is an automatic law in effect that his mind and conscience cannot supersede. He can’t understand how his unfaithfulness will make it so difficult to truly love his wife and to be true to her.
What kind of ardor can he have for his wife when his mind will not relinquish memories of Joyce, Betty or Ann, girls with whom he has shared intimacies which should be reserved only for his wife? How can his wife know she is having to compete with past memories irrevocably stored up in her husband’s mind memories be should never have?
He sins against his own wife and himself. “Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart (understanding)” Hosea 4:11. His understanding of how to have true happiness diminishes with every illicit sex act. “Give not your strength unto women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings”! (Prov. 31:3.) How tragically true! The wisest man on earth had to find this out the hard way! Solomon had wisdom, understanding, knowledge all any man could ask for, plus untold riches (I Kings 3:12-13). He set his hand to try things out by his own personal experience. His sad results are recorded in the book of Ecclesiastes.
Against all of God’s warnings (Deut. 17:15-20), Solomon finally accumulated 700 wives and 300 concubines, one thousand women. He had the best- looking, the best- built, the smoothest skinned, the most voluptuous women in the land.
But what happened? “And his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father” (I Kings 11:3-4).
Remember Hosea 4:11? “Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart”! Though Solomon had been given special wisdom and understanding (heart) above all men, he failed to exercise these qualities. He increased wretchedness in the land. His women persuaded him to build monuments and sex symbols to their individual gods, to Solomon’s shame and the desecration of the land and people of God!
Solomon may even have missed his chance for eternal life by his bizarre addiction to illicit sex. This was the one major vice he had. No man who exercises real understanding would erect pagan temples and worship other gods, being led about by illicit bed partners! “A good understanding have all they that do his commandments” (Ps. 111:10).
Solomon just happened to be able to do what some men or women would do if they were able once they begin to fornicate or commit adultery! He found an insatiable desire for more, but he could never be really satisfied.
Israel was God’s wife. But when she went after other gods, she committed adultery against Him. “And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and stocks (as well as other nations)” (Jer. 3:9). Jeremiah continues, “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you. Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O House of Israel” (vs. 14, 20).
But God saw it just the way Charles David saw it. God had rescued Israel from Egypt, cleaned her up as a beautiful, lovely bride and married her (Ezk. 16:1-14). But with all Israel’s blessings, she turned against God and became unfaithful. “But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and played the harlot because of thy renown, and poured out thy fornications on every one that passed by; His it was.
and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredom” (vs. 15, 25) How much clearer can it be?
Israel totally rejected God and spurned His advances, scorning His true love for a false. “Thou hast played the whore also with the Assyrians, because thou wast unsatiable; yea, thou hast played the harlot with them, and yet couldest not be satisfied” (v. 28).
Do you see what happened? Once she started committing adultery, ancient Israel could not be satisfied. With all his wisdom, Solomon could never be satisfied even with a thousand women. Mary could never again be really satisfied with only Charles. If you have ever committed fornication, or adultery, think about it! Did it ever satisfy you? Was one time ever enough? NO! Lust is never satisfied.
There is no end to it. If you have never committed fornication or adultery, be thankful! But many of you reading these words have committed adultery. You have suffered in your marriage or marriages and perhaps never knew why. Now you can know. You have dragged your life through the mud of human filth, you have fostered an unstable character and you have opened a “Pandora’s Box” of insatiable lust and illicit desire.
Solomon, in all his wisdom, knew what to do but did not do it. He continued his race to destruction. He did not have a heart like his father, David. His heart was destroyed by adulteries! This was the major difference between David and Solomon. David knew what to do and he did it. David’s heart had not turned from God as Solomon’s.
David realized his deep need for repentance from his heinous crime of adultery. When God’s prophet Nathan made him realize what he had done with Bathsheba, David was truly broken up about it and took drastic action. He realized what the penalties were and took steps to change.
His repentance was complete. He took the whole blame himself. He was not like Sigmund Freud, who felt that no one is guilty of personally committing sin, that man is just an innocent victim of environmental circumstances.
Notice how David felt, “For I acknowledge my transgression: and my sin is ever before me” (Ps. 51:3)! He recognized that he was the guilty one (v. 4). He took all the blame before God. He knew he had to be cleansed and purged by God to be really clean (v. 7).
But most important, he knew what God really wanted: “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart” (vs. 16-17).
If you have been involved in the wretchedness of adultery, you are in the same shoes with David, Solomon, and Mary David. Will you be like David, or like Solomon? Will you let it become an obsession with you and permeate your very being as Solomon did? Will you mull it over in your mind and linger over the “pleasures of sin for a moment” and let it hatch into reality? Will you finally commit the actual sin again? Will you allow your strength, your energies, your proper feelings, your chances for true happiness and your understanding to be ripped away from you by your senseless thoughts and actions?
Or will you be like David, who succeeded, and qualified to be a great ruler in God’s Kingdom? (Ezk. 34:23, 37:24). If you really want to do right in God’s sight, and have the happiness and real joy of living God wants you to have, be like David. Have a heart like David’s. See it as he saw it.
Think as he thought! Feel as he felt! Repent like he repented! Take God’s way, the best way. Follow David’s example of repentance. Use Psalm 51 as a guideline to help you change and get started toward real help, a future in the New Word to come, as well as happiness yet in this life!