The following was written in frustration at a time when several young, married people I once admired, marred my trust in 'Christian' friends.
It seems that lately I have heard so many excuses for flirtation and adultery from some of my married, 'Christian' friends. Some have said those who have sinned in this manner have their reasons. I cringe at the thought. No matter what the excuse to look to someone other than your spouse for attention, there is no reason good enough to cheat on Jesus Christ.
Maybe they should read James 4:4-10.
I've been told I don't have a clue. Oh, but I suppose they don't know where I've come from.
Let me tell you. . .
I was married to a man I did not love for nine long years. I came to that marriage a sinner wanting a way out of a home full of old stick-in-the-mud parents who wanted me to live this 'perfect' life that I just wasn't up to living. When I realized how much I needed Jesus in my life and how right my parents had been, I also found that I was married to a man who had no intention of changing.
Once I started living for Christ, my husband's 'not so nice' side increased ten-fold. I prayed for his salvation. I prayed for love that was not there. At times I prayed for a way out. At the worst times I even prayed for a semi-truck to take care of my problem, but then I would ask forgiveness and start the cycle again.
If anyone had 'excuses' for flirtation, I had them.
I remember working so very hard to lose the weight I had gained during my pregnancy through a program my parent's church offered. I lost thirty pounds and felt proud of my accomplishment. It was then that my husband ordered himself a few unmentionable movies which he watched every night after our babies had gone to bed. I suffered the consequences of destroying them a month later in a fit of rage. Here I was looking better than I had in years and no one cared. Not at home anyway.
At work was a different story. I was Transportation Manager at an auto auction, so everyday I was one of few women in a sea of men. I can't count the times I have said the words "I'm married" only to be asked "But are you happy?". It would have been so easy to say "No." and accept the advances from someone who was showing me attention. It wasn't love for my husband that made me return the question with "I'm happy enough to not look elsewhere." That took a much higher love.
Matthew 16:26 (KJV) says "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Now I'll not lie and say that I have never been tempted. I was very unhappy and the temptations were there. But I never could get Mama's words to go away. "God is always watching you and where will you spend eternity if He decides to come back while you are choosing to do wrong?" As a rebellious, unsaved teenager those words haunted me. It took a long time to appreciate Mama's wisdom.
This world has been around for a very long time. We are lucky to live here for more than sixty or seventy years. That is seconds in God's time. I want to work on my future after I leave this place.
Matthew 6:19-21(KJV) says "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
I had lunch with a friend of mine about two years after leaving the auction. We had become friends while working there, side-by-side. She was unsaved when we met. She had offered me a shoulder to cry on many times as she watched me go through my troubled relationship. She was there when I would come into work in physical pain because of my husband (at the time). She was there when he left because he couldn't face the fact that he had left severe bruises on our three-year-old son. She was there when I took him back because he said he would go to counseling and again when that did not work. She watched and listened carefully to how I handled every situation, though at the time I had no idea she was paying that much attention to my actions. She knew how hard I prayed that God would change that man. She knew how I struggled with leaving because I was afraid of displeasing my parents and my Jesus.
As my friend sat across from me at lunch, she spoke of her husband and children and the dedication they felt to each other and the church they were attending. She spoke of feeling the Holy Spirit move as they prayed together. She told me that I was a witness to her and she was grateful to me for my faithfulness to God. I was moved to tears.
Where would she be if I had used the excuses available to me? Where would she be if I had accepted the attention of someone other than my husband? Where would she be today if she had watched me put Jesus anywhere but first in my life?
It has been several years since this incident. God has given me a new life with a wonderful man who really loves me and loves my children as his own. Together we thank God for richly blessing each of us. I can now tell anyone who cares to know that I am madly in love with my husband. We were both praying for God's will to be done in our lives when we met and together we put God first in our marriage and in every other part of our lives. The thought of looking elsewhere never crosses my mind.
We have discussed work relationships and the rules we would apply there. We came up with "If you wouldn't do it with me standing there, don't do it." That works.
I would say that I pray no one has to go through what I did for happiness, but I wonder if maybe I am where I am today because of my yesterdays. I will only pray that friends can look beyond their excuses for flirtation and see the eyes watching them. I pray they will begin to lay up their treasures in Heaven and not accept a moment of pleasure for someone's eternity of pain.
Written in love and concern by: Teresa Lee Rainey
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Teresa, this article ministered very much to me. I'm glad that you had a faithful mother whose words stayed with you. And I'm glad the Lord has granted you a happy relationship. Perhaps mine will come someday... preferably sooner than later, as I've been waiting five years now after a 16 yr long bitter marriage that was pretty much as you described yours. Thank you for sharing this article. I know the Lord is pleased with the conviction in it.