Well, she was standing by my dressing room after the show
Asking for my autograph and asked if she could go
back to my motel room, but the rest is just a tragic tale
Because five short minutes of lovin’
Done brought me twenty long years in jail

-Jim Croce, Five Short Minutes

I read a great post over at Desiring God today, and I wanted to do something similar, just different.

If I asked for a show of hands, my guess is that most, if not all of us, would admit to having had an inappropriate thought in the course of the past few weeks. (For some, “hours” may be more like it)  You have perhaps seen or spoken with a woman whose voice seemed to draw you in (Prov 6:25-29).  Later, on reflecting back on the conversation, perhaps you thought how nice it would be to sit down and have a nice cup of coffee with her.  Or maybe you let your mind go a bit further.  You wondered what it would be like to hold her hand…or more…

The intent here is not to relive the experience, just to point out that it happens.  Calling it lust is a little too easy sometimes.  Maybe you tried to keep sex out of the “daydream”, but it is a pretty slippery slope from thinking about another woman to lusting after her.

Let’s think past lust…past the point of real, live adultery.  What are the consequences of giving in to temptation?  This is my own personal list, and I would encourage you to make your own list as well.  As you think it through, consider how wide reaching the consequences of adultery are.  Let the process inoculate you from the temptation to violate your marriage vows.

Loss of Friendship I.  My wife is my best friend.  When good things happen, she is the first one I want to tell.  When something bad has happened, her voice and her counsel is so important to me.  Adultery would destroy all of that.

Loss of Friendship II. How many of my good friends would turn their backs on me?  Quite a few, I am sure, and their judgments would be accurate and painful.

Loss of Friendship III.  I never really thought of this until a close friend’s wife left him for another man, but my kids would lose a lot of their friends too.  Parents want to protect their children, and being around kids who live in an emotional whirlpool isn’t healthy.

Unbearable pain for my wife.  Being completely honest here, my sin would find me out.  And at the moment my wife learned of it, the moment it is confirmed beyond doubt, my wife would suffer one of the most painful events of her life.  All caused by my selfish choice.

Unbearable pain for my sons.  The statistics are not good.  Divorce would tear my kids hearts apart.  They would look back to happier times and ask God, “Why?”

Falling away from the faith.  I am not here talking about the theological point of the perseverance of the saints.  Rather, I am speaking of some that are perhaps close to faith but would be discouraged in it.  My sons, in particular, would not want to be associated with the things their Adulterous Dad has done.  Any why should they?  “A lot of good his faith has done – it destroyed our mom!”

Sinful behavior in my sons.  When faced with temptation of their own, my sons would rationalize sinful choices because their “godly father” did the same things.  Perhaps even sins I never committed but they assume I may have.

Embarrassment for my sons.  My sin is not my own.  Ruthless classmates would say, “Hey, I heard what your dad did.”  And that is if they are polite.  It could be a lot worse.  (When you think of Bill Clinton’s term as president, what are the first things that come to mind?)

Hypocrisy.  Some would look at me and say that I am a hypocrite.  And they would be right.

Derision for the cause of Christ.  Others would point at my sin and say, “All Christians are like that.  The say they are holy, but they are just like everyone else.”  Jesus would be slandered by their statement, and it would be my fault.

Humiliation.  The grace of God covers multiple sins, including the sin of pride.  An indulgence in the flesh would remove grace and bring deep humiliation, something I deserve every day anyway.  But this would be a grievous one.  Wagging tongues would…

Gossip.  My sin would be the subject of conversations, emails, phone calls.

Derision for Christ Church.  Some people would learn of my sin and remember little about me other than the fact that I attend Christ Church.  As they drive by it they would think, “There is the church where that man attends that committed adultery.”

Pain, Shame, Hurt, Betrayal for the Elders.  We bear one another’s burdens, and we strive for openness.  Sin destroys all of this.  They would be forced to initiate the process of removal of a brother.

Deception.  A deeper sin than adultery exists, one that I fight constantly: Pride.  Because of pride, I would likely work hard to keep my sin private.  Openness with my brothers in Christ would suffer because one sin would render me too weak to ward off the temptation to deceive.  But, this sort of thing would not be a secret for long.

Exposure.  I would be exposed as a liar, an adulterer, and as someone not to be trusted.

Guilt.  I would not be able to sleep at night.  (Yes, I know.  Boo hoo.)

Loneliness.  When I sin, the heavens seem closed.  I would not be able to pray or read the Bible.

Physical loneliness.  My wife would rightly avoid sexual relations with me.  Probably because of the risk of…

Sexually Transmitted Disease.  Even if nothing were transmitted, the fear of it would be a constant companion.  And being somewhat fearful of contracting a disease, I would see my doctor to make sure I am not infected.  Which would lead to me to…

Avoiding speaking to a friend.  My doctor’s son is involved in many activities at school with my son.  I have regarded him as a friend, but my shame would remove our friendship.

The Other Woman.  If the other woman were married, these same things would happen to her family.  If she is not married, she might be deprived of what she hoped would be a meaningful relationship.

What’s for lunch?  Rabbit!.  I know you might laugh at this, but stop and think about it for a minute.  Sin seems so easy at first, but you never know how things will turn out.  Someone might be a little crazy.  (Glen Close likely has no idea how many men she unwittingly helped in that movie.)

Unemployment.  My job is a little different from others.  I must be 100% trustworthy.  If I were to commit adultery with someone at work, I would lose my job.

Lack of Trust, My Wife.  Assuming the marriage somehow holds together, my wife would be easily forgiven if she held back her trust.  Every time I work past 5:30, every business trip, every late night phone call would trigger feelings of fear, doubt, anger, and guilt in her.  Arguments constantly.

Lack of Trust, My Sons. Ditto the boys.  But their fear would be for divorce, fighting, etc.

Lack of Trust, Others.  Are you going to totally trust someone who violated the most sacred vow he ever took?  I don’t blame you.

It’s fearful how many directions this can go.   Think past “the act”.  Think of who is affected, and how.  Let that guide you to protect your marriage and cherish the wife of your youth.